Africa Union Summit: Bostwana banks of agriculture for diversification

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Botswana’s Vice President Slumber Tsogwane has stated that the agriculture sector remains a priority area for economic diversification and sector competitiveness in the country.

The VP stated this while speaking as a panelist at the Feed Africa Summit in Senegal yesterday during a discussion on priorities for food and agriculture transformation, he said Botswana was continually making efforts to turn the economy around and improve its GDP.

Previously treated as a unilateral sector, agriculture was now being integrated into other government programmes to increase its potential to grow other industries, Mr Tsogwane revealed.

He dìsclosed that the government had crafted policies that improved and eased investment in the sector as well as promoting the treatment of agriculture as a business.

Responding to a question on what Botswana was doing to build a livestock production reservoir for export, the vice president mentioned construction of a multi-species abattoir as well as tapping and processing semen for cattle and small stock.

Mr Tsogwane said the presidential bull donation initiative was a major milestone to encourage farmers to improve herd genetic quality.
“All these initiatives are meant to improve the quality of livestock and increase the national herds,” he said.

On other issues, Mr Tsogwane said the summit was a platform for learning and sharing skills on increasing the agricultural sector’s contribution to GDP.

He told the audience that while Botswana continued to intensify efforts to drive an export-led economy, the country was experiencing challenges in ferrying goods to other countries because it was landlocked.
Mr Tsogwane said whereas agriculture had been treated as a tradition in Botswana, the sector’s performance had been declining over the years in the wake of reliance on diamonds as a driver of the economy.

Because Botswana was also drought-prone, farmers were struggling to grow the agriculture sector while young people were reluctant to invest in the sector because of the risks involved, the vice president said.

He argued that agricultural financing was never enough because of the reluctance of financial institutions to invest in the sector.

The summit looked into unlocking Africa’s food production potential and focused on mobilising high-level political commitment around production, markets, and trade to implement food and agriculture delivery compacts for selected countries.

Other objectives are mobilising and aligning government resources, development partners, and private sector financing for food and agriculture delivery compacts to achieve food security on a large scale in each country.

The discussions also focused on sharing successful food and agriculture experiences in selected countries and platforms for scaling up support for agriculture as well as for research and development.

Held under the theme; of Feed Africa, Food Sovereignty and Resilience, the meeting is also expected to double agricultural productivity through advanced technologies, livestock and aquaculture, and climate-smart advisory services.Africa Union Summit: Bostwana banks of agriculture for diversification

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