23 Sep 2019
Botswana’s deputy secretary of the Minister of Agriculture stated that the country’s import bill is set to receive a tremendous cut because of a local agro-infrastructure plan.
Speaking on Saturday to several local farmers, the ministry’s deputy secretary Leslie Botshoma explained that project is estimated to be finished by the end of this month, around 910km northwest of Gaborone, in Pandamatenga. He said that this development will give a better control of local water and of the drainage system.
In addition, it will also help the government manage road network better. ‘The principal objective of the project was to ensure good and successful production and eventually cut the import bill by half,’ Bostshoma stated.
The reasoning behind the infrastructure plans is for the government to make sure that costs from the import bill is used to develop areas within the country itself.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) will be funding the project, having been approved in 2009.
Present with Bostshoma was chairperson of the Pandamatenga Commercial Farmers Association, who farmers will benefit from such a project, especially ones who did not have water in their farms logged.
He said, ‘Water logging was so extreme at Pandamatenga Farms due to poor drainage system. As farmers, we are confident that we will be filling the silos and definitely cut the import bill by a significant percentage.’
Around 20,000 tonnes of beans are exported from the area on an annual basis to Canada, China and India.