The City of Francistown has rolled out a plan to turn the city into an agricultural hub, according to an official in the ministry of agriculture.
Baitshepi Babusi-Hill, Chief Communications and Investor Relations Officer in the Ministry of agriculture said the plan involves engaging the private sector and the community in tapping technical and marketing expertise to position Francistown as a centre of agricultural produce. Currently Francistown, with a population of about 165 000 people relies mostly on mining and manufacturing and Babusi-Hill believes there is potential in the agricultural sector. Botswana currently has a high demand for dairy and other agricultural produce and imports about 85 percent of her food needs from South Africa.
She said currently local dairy farmers produce 3 million litres of milk and this leaves the country with no option but to import the remaining 60 million litres of milk. She said under the plan locals could look forward to working with the private sector in Sorghum/millet, Maize, Fruits and Vegetables, Pork, Poultry, Honey and Mutton and shevron= industries.
The country seems to be doing well only in poultry production with 99 percent followed by Mutton and shevron with 77 percent, she said. “Some of the challenges we are facing are low levels of agro processing and value addition plants to agricultural produce,” she said. With the support of private sector and locals on cattle ranching she hopes the plan will be a success despite the recurring foot and mouth in the region. Babusi-Hill said the ministry would further look into unexploited areas among them ostrich farming, processing sunflower oil and fertilizer production within the city. The Francistown Investment Forum was held under the theme, ‘City of Francistown: An Investment Centre of Vibrancy by 2022 - A Step Forward Top Your Investment:’