Botswana: Bamb Spurs Farmers to Invest in Maize Production
Talana Farms — Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) chief executive officer Mr Leonard Morakaladi says opportunity abounds in maize grain production in Botswana.
Speaking in an interview following assistant minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Mr Molebatsi Molebatsi’s tour of Kwenantle Farmers on Saturday, Mr Morakaladi said a good season of maize grain harvest yielded only 20-30 thousand metric tonnes of grain while the country needed between 100-120 thousand metric tons of maize annually.
A bad season could yield about a thousand metric tonnes of maize, Mr Morakaladi revealed. He challenged Batswana with land to plough maize and help in addressing food security in the country.
To buttress claims of thriving opportunity in the maize farming industry, he demonstrated that the biggest contributor of maize grain, Kwenantle Farmers, contributed only 8000 metric tonnes of the needed 100-120 thousand metric tonnes of grain annually.
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This year BAMB expects in excess of 20 000 metric tonnes of maize from Mosisedi Farmers. According to Mr Morakaladi, the previous season only over a 1 000 metric tonnes yielded from the area.
“This is obviously a challenge and also an opportunity in the sense that technology allows for dry land farming, for opening up of new production land,” said the BAMB CEO.
He cited areas like Dukwi that had been allocated for arable production and agro Zambezi’s 45 00 hectares with fertile land present an opportunity because of the soil type and good rainfalls in the northern side of the country.
He said when finally in production, there was a likelihood of closing the huge gap that currently existed between local harvest and the demand for maize.
Also the current state of COVID-19 may see some countries that Botswana imports maize from holding back because of uncertainty. This provides a further opportunity to go into maize production, Mr Morakaladi said, adding that BAMD facilitated harvest, instead of waiting for it, by way of provision of seeds and fertilisers.
Though he conceded that hot weather condition did not favour maize production generally, he challenged Batswana, especially those in cluster farms to devise ways to produce grain through dry land farming. “Cultivated land for maize in Botswana is very little, predominantly in the southern part of Botswana,” he said.
He also said huge chunks of ploughing land lay idle in Bobirwa and Tswapong regions, which could be used to produce maize by tapping into various government programs such as ISPAAD and agriculture guarantee scheme that aid crop production.
Source : BOPA