By Malebogo Lekula
Xanagas Farms — Botswana used to boast a cattle population of around three million but it has since declined to 1.5 million, says Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Mr Karabo Gare.
Attributing the decline to climate change, Minister Gare said the drastic reduction could have adverse effects on the country’s economic growth.
He was speaking in an interview after a tour of the Xanagas research and Ncojane artificial insemination centres on February 27.
Mr Gare therefore called on farmers to join hands with government to reverse the decline at all costs.
He said the ministry was advancing the idea of resuscitating artificial insemination centres across the country.
Government, he explained, had been promoting the facilities since the 1960s to improve herd quality and growth rates.
Stating that the country’s 15 centres were currently underutilised, Mr Gare urged farmers to utilise them as they had the potential to produce more cattle for domestic and export markets.
He said government had noted that farmers’ participation had declined over the years due to poor access roads, lack of electricity and other telecommunication infrastructure at the production centres.
Mr Gare pointed out that government was determined to turn agriculture into a fully-fledged commercialised and diversified sector by coming up with different initiatives.
Another interviewee, Ghanzi South MP Mr Motsamai Motsamai encouraged farmers to increase adoption of new technologies to improve agricultural output which he said could help reduce the food import bill.
Kgosi Phillip Kanji of Charleshill pleaded with the minister to continue supporting farmers to help them increase production.
Turning to farmers, he said in order for them to reap the rewards of their hard work, they had to be hands on at all times.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>