Genetically modified maize on govt plans
The government has drafted a bio-security bill that will explore the possibility of ploughing Genetically Modified Maize (GMOs) in Botswana.
This was revealed by the Assistant Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Beauty Manake, when addressing farmers in Pandamatenga recently.
Manake who was responding to concerns raised by Pandamatenga farmers said the ban on the use of GMO’s resulted in lost opportunities as Botswana was unable to meet its annual maize demand.
“We have long pleaded with the government to set up a framework that can facilitate the use of GMO’s. The ban has resulted in Botswana failing to satisfy its annual maize demand and importing around 10 000 metric tonnes per annum. We need to work around a framework that will address concerns like seed contamination,” they said.
In her response, Manake explained that the government delayed the use of GMOs because there was a need to conduct extensive research to determine whether they could be harmful to the national crop and the environment.
Meanwhile, Manake together with Assistant Minister of Investment Trade and Industry, Molebatsi Molebatsi this week visited farmers in Pandamatenga; roped in key government departments and parastatals like LEA, BITC, CEDA, NDB, BAMB, and SEZA on a tour of agriculture projects as part of the one government’s strategy that entails pooling national resources to improve the lives of Batswana.
Manake said the tour was aimed at reviewing government investment in agriculture and liaising with agro-producers to better understand their needs.
She said there was a need for both Ministries to align strategies and jointly contribute to agriculture development.
“Pooling government resources will facilitate co-operation and avoid duplication of roles,” she said.
For his part, Molebatsi said it was important for the two Ministries to work together to develop value chains in the agriculture sector and serve Batswana as a collective.
“Agriculture needs trade to take produce to the market,” he said.