Mmegi Photojournalist, PHATSIMO KAPENG, took to the fields of several communal lands in Greater Gaborone this week, finding that the forecast of strong rainfall has lifted farmers’ confidence about the upcoming season. Many, however, are unaware that this season is the last for the current version of the Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agriculture Development (ISPAAD)
(Tsorogwane Lands)I long started the preparations for this ploughing season because I heard on the radio that there will be enough rain for us to plough. I’m a regular farmer and I plant almost every year. I normally plant maize and sorghum more than anything else, because at the end of the day they give me enough harvest compared to other crops. I am not aware of the ISPAAD changes yet. The little that I know is that farmers were advised to practise and apply the farming methods advised by the relevant people, but as for the new changes I’m yet to learn and understand what exactly is expected from us. It’s a good thing to learn about new developments and also to do the right things as recommended by the government.
Mmaphuti Modise and her daughters (Laone and Kaelo Modise) at Lekgatswane LandsWe plant our field every year without fail with my daughters. They love cropping with all their hearts just like me and I have divided my field into sections just to give each one of them their own space so that everyone can have their own choice of what they want to plant. So far, we are still waiting for the first drops of the rain so that we can till the soil and prepare for the start of the season. We have registered for the seeds already and just yesterday I received an SMS indicating that we should come and register the names of tractor owners who help us in ploughing.
They also advised us that we should register before they close because if we don’t register we will not be included. As for the rainfall this season, we have been assured that we should be ready to till the soil because enough rainfall is expected this season. We normally harvest more than expected every season because we plant using the methods advised by the government. We harvest enough to feed ourselves and we also make a lot of money from our field products. My field is 14 hectares and we are four in it, me with my daughters. I also have two sons who however do not stay here.
I heard some changes have been made to ISPAAD but I’m not aware of what exactly is being changed. I will go and ask the relevant people so that I don’t remain behind. I believe those changes are going to help us improve as farmers and I wish every farmer could go and ask so that they get first-hand information because most of us spend a lot of our time not listening to radio and television. Maybe that is why we remain behind whenever there are new developments.
(Gakuto Lands)Preparations have already started on our side. We normally wait for the announcement of the rainfall forecast before we can even think of tilling the soil. Now that we have been given the go-ahead, we are very happy and look forward to hitting the soil soon as the rainfall starts. Our field is 11.5 hectares and we are three in it. My mother and I have four hectares each and we give the remaining space to another person.
This season we are planning to plant maize, beans, sorghum and lablab. Last season we did not get enough harvest because of pests and weeds but this time around we are very hopeful that we will get something. I have secured a Doom sprayer to try and treat the soil before ploughing to avoid the past situation. I also attended a few tutorials with the agriculture professionals to try and get some new skills on how to improve our knowledge in ploughing.
As for the changes in ISPAAD, I am not aware but I believe whatever they are, will not sideline other farmers. I believe we are all going to benefit from those changes.
(Mmasebele Lands)I am always ahead of preparations every season like right now I am already de-bushing my field because I have heard about the good rainfall forecast. I normally buy seeds for myself even if I have registered for them from ISPAAD, as they can take time to be delivered sometimes.
This time around, I want to plough maize and sorghum because last year I did not harvest enough due to heavy rains.
I only plough four hectares in my field every season and in good times I get enough harvest to feed my family and livestock.
We have heard about the ISPAAD changes, so I can’t say I understand what exactly has been changed. The only thing I am sure about is that the government only pays for four hectares for each person.
We are waiting for the relevant people to take us through the said changes so that all of us farmers understand what is needed and what’s not.