In their efforts to promote crop production, the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security has come up with initiatives to match respective crop products to the compatible production environments.
This was revealed by the Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Karabo Gare in response to a question poised by Jwaneng/Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile in parliament recently.
Gare explained that through the Ministry’s Department of Agricultural Research, they have undertaken rigorous investigations through purposeful studies on crop sustainability in various zones of the country.
He noted that in this undertaking, observations were focused on dissimilarities among the zones in terms of soils, temperatures, and annual precipitation.
“Observations were furthermore based on variability among crop types and varieties.”
He said that through this exercise, the Ministry has come up with agro-ecological zones for Botswana guiding on suitable crop varieties for various locations.
Gare mentioned that Kgalagadi sandy soils have been found to be suitable for the production of pulses such as cowpeas, beans, and other drought-tolerant and highly adaptive crops due to comparatively lower annual rainfalls and adverse temperatures.
“The Ministry has developed relevant extension messages which are conveyed to the farming communities through different information-sharing platforms such as Farmer/Agricultural Demonstrator interaction, Television, and Radio.”
Describing the approach as a ‘noble one’, Gare noted it would enable optimum exploitation of both the crops as well as the different environment within which they are produced.
“This is the basis from which commodity clusters have been developed,” he added.
Reatile had asked the Minister to explain whether any studies to determine common crops that do well in Kgalagadi or sandy environments have been conducted. He also asked the Minister to state if there are any promotional activities to encourage residents to focus on these crops looking at their potential economic output.