Masunga: Tatuma farmers have been encouraged to adopt more efficient techniques to take crop production in the region to the next level. Speaking at a field day in Zwenshambe recently, Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) CEO, Mr Masego Mphathi said farmers should use high yielding seeds, improve records keeping and follow market trends to attain sustainable food security at both household and national levels.
Mr Mphathi said everyone should be able to feed his/her family instead of letting it be fed by another. He warned that there would come a time when all the food imported from South Africa will cease and if Batswana are not hands on they will suffer. He said there might be shortage before, during and after the World Cup and he therefore implored Batswana to produce enough food to provide for their daily needs on a consistent basis.
Mr Mphathi said Botswana requires about 300 000 tonnes of grains and 240 000 tonnes of which is grown in the country, adding that therefore it means Batswana can attain food security if they work harder. He said the NAMPAADD study estimated that given potentials of Botswana soils, it would need about 200 000 hectares to reach the target, adding that a study by the Ministry of Agriculture has shown that there is close to 400 000 hectares of land that could be used for arable farming,.
This is more that enough land to achieve the target, provided it is made available for crop production and the right technologies are applied, he said.
Mr Mphathi also urged Batswana to make use of government programmes to attain food security, as such programmes have been designed to empower Batswana, adding that it is sad to see some people going hungry when they could use such programmes.
The host farmer Mr Peter Woto decried lack of arable land in North East. Mr Woto said he has 20 hectares yet he would like to have about 500 to feed the nation, which he said is his responsibility as an accountable citizen.
Another farmer Mr Cornelius Mahube said the TATUMA Arable Farmers Association is doing its best to produce food. He said every year the farmers visit each others fields to learn and educate one another.
Mr Mahube also called upon all Batswana who do not use their fields to loan them to those who have interest in farming He urged other farmers in the area to join the association adding that the name TATUMA was derived from the three villages of Tonota, Tutume and Masunga.BOPA