Ghanzi — Director of Crop Production, Mr. Galeitsewe Ramokapane has observed that Botswana dependency syndrome on importation of Agricultural produce is crippling the agricultural sector.
Officiating at horticultural technical meeting geared towards improving horticultural sub- sector in Ghanzi recently, Mr. Ramokapane stated that 'we cannot produce enough because we have alternatives, as we are depending on our brothers and sisters in South Africa'.
He said despite numerous climate change related challenges facing crop production, food security was an attainable goal only if Batswana could calibrate their mindset. He was concerned that the country was importing even produce of crops which were doing better in the country.
He said the department was working on the formation of horticultural clusters, 'as we expand the idea, we want to exploit all horticultural value chains'. He added that jobs would be created, and value addition incentives enjoyed in the process.
"There are a lot of potatoes produced in Ghanzi area, we should consider processing them before selling them," he exemplified. Chief horticulture officer, Ms. Kgotso Madisa called for exploitation of horticultural the value chain, saying farmers should be taught about every opportunity in each component.
She posited that horticulture presented job opportunities, hence urged sector officers to be agents of change. One participant, Ms. Mpho Morupisi called for establishment of fruit nurseries across the country, arguing that importation of fruit promoted spreading of pests.
"Importation of fruit means importation pest," she said. One Mr. Moremedi Thokweng said productive areas should be exploited to improve production. He said excessive use of chemicals in agriculture was posing health hazards to consumers.
This was so particularly because there was no sector dedicated to check chemical residues content in Agricultural produce. He also said the funding component of horticulture should be improved.
Ghanzi District agricultural coordinator, Ms. Merriam Munamava said safety of agricultural produce was a concern, thus appealed to farmers to keep records of all activities in their farms. "Let's go back to the basics, encouraged farmers to keep records and inspect them." she stated.