Government has decided to speed up the drought assessment process in order to lessen the plight of farmers, says acting Minister of Agriculture, Mr Patrick Ralotsia.
Addressing Kanye residents recently, Mr Ralotsia noted that drought assessments were usually carried out around June, but because of the severity of the current dry-spell, the government decided to move swiftly to mitigate farmers’ plight.
Mr Ralotsia, who is also the MP for Kanye North, made the remarks following complaints by residents who wanted to know the government’s stance on the drought situation. “The assessment team met in Francistown on Friday last week to prepare the final report. Which will be presented to the government for consideration,” he said.
The acting minister, however, noted that it was the prerogative of the President to declare whether or not there was drought and measures to be taken based on the findings of the report. Mr Ralotsia urged residents to take to ploughing and ensure the country’s food security.
He said out of the 926 000 hectares ploughed nationally, the Southern District ploughed 230 000 hectares which was nearly a quarter of the country’s ploughing hectorage. He noted that if the area ear-marked for ploughing was fully utilised, national food security would be easily attained.
He also told Kanye residents that the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) was not paying farmers as well as it could because of losses it incurred in the past. “The costs came about after meat sold to the commission failed to meet certain requirements set by the European market and at the time, Botswana Meat Commission had already disbursed funds towards the payment of animals to the farmers,” he said, adding that as such BMC was still reeling from the grave loss.
Author : Mooketsi Mojalemotho