The government has come up with measures to improve the Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agriculture Development (ISPAAD). This moves comes in the view that the programme does not bare desired results in its current form, according to Minister Gare.
Honourable Karabo Socraat Gare has told the National Assembly of Botswana that his ministry has decided to “come up with an efficient, cost effective and sustainable arable farming programme designed to increase agricultural productivity and food security at household level.”
However, the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security will not implement the programme as yet. According to Gare, they have decided to implement the ammendments in the 2022/23 ploughing season, making 2021/22 the transition period, that is from October 2021 to June 2022.
According to Minister Gare, the new programme has been designed with goals to enhance agricultural productivity and output growth, promote inclusivity in agricultural production and to improve social capital base. As such the Minister says the programme shall have the following objectives;
- The increase in the yield of selected crops through the introduction of output based encashment, introduction of insurance cover, seasonal guarantee loans as well as robust promotion of climate smart agriculture.
- Promotion of investment in crop production by increasing agricultural commodities in the product space from four (4) to at least ten (10) products by the year 2024.
This will be done through the promotion of post-harvest handling and marketing of key rainfed crops (logistics, packaging, storage management technologies, pest management and preservation technologies), promotion of procurement of farm produce through Economic Diversification Drive and facilitation of contract based production.
- Promotion of agro-ecological production by aligning four (4) of the eight (8) Agro Ecological Zones according to commodity potential by the year 2024, in order to maximise production as the country is not homogeneous in terms of soil characteristics, rainfall patterns, land uses, crops adoptability and change of seasons.
- To increase the area cultivated in sixteen (16) clusters from 60.7% (35,686.62 ha) to 100% (58,785.62) by the year 2024. To achieve this, infrastructure will be developed in clustered production areas as well as to facilitate establishment of private sector led service centres within the clusters.
- Strengthen farmer’s position in the food supply chain by reviewing the current farmer’s committee structures and capacitating the Agricultural Management Associations (AMA) as well as promoting a robust public and private extension service base.
- Promotion of agro tourism through the utilisation of unproductive land for lodging and other recreational facilities as well as relocating agricultural exhibitions to clusters.