In its bid to turn horticulture into a profitable and money spinning business, Botswana Horticulture Council (BoHoCo) will host a National Horticulture Field Day and conference in Lobatse next month.
The field day is organised in collaboration with South East Horticulture Farmers Association (SEHOFA) and Maradu Farm. BoHoCo has successfully negotiated with a local insurance company to insure horticulture products.
Currently, Botswana farmers are losing millions in damages caused by natural disasters as insurance companies do not provide any cover for horticultural products. The theme for the business minded event is, ‘Horticulture, green diamond discovered’.The objectives of the field day include but not limited to knowledge exchange, technology acquisition, market intelligence and skills acquisition. The events will be held on 22nd- 23rd September 2017.The events provide an opportunity for networking, education and discussion for those working in the horticultural industry and businesses which support it. Speaking to Botswana Guardian, BoHoCo chairman, Boikaego Phole said they invited the Ambassador of the European Union to Botswana and SADC, Alexander Baum to perform the official opening of the event.
He revealed that in its quest to contribute to the development of horticulture production and associated value chain businesses; his Council has embarked on a campaign dubbed ‘Discovering Botswana’s Second Diamond.’
This campaign entails luring stakeholders to collaborate with BoHoCo on identified endeavours aimed at developing horticulture. One such identified stakeholder is EU Commission.
Phole said subsequent to a number of engagements between the two, EU Commission has since shown interest to collaborate with BoHoCo from the year 2018 onwards in a strategy to revamp horticultural production and marketing. “It is in recognition of this envisaged partnership that the Ambassador was invited”.
Phole said another interesting stakeholder is an insurance company that he declined to name. “Negotiations are at an advanced stage and a Memorandum of Understanding between BoHoCo and the insurance company is being worked on and will be concluded soon”.
Phole said the Insurance Company is developing a new insurance package that should adequately cover the farmers’ interests. The whole objective is to come up with an insurance cover with favourable terms and conditions at fairly affordable premiums. The insurance company is scheduled to present the new insurance cover to the conference attendants on September 23rd.
Phole said one of the biggest challenges that have bedevilled potential growth in the horticulture industry is lack of appropriate and consistent market, the Botswana Horticulture Market notwithstanding.Efforts to transform the horticulture market have been ongoing and given the pace at which things are moving, it is envisioned that a conclusion favourable to most farmers will be reached before 23rd September, said Phole.
Another objective of the campaign is to forge collaborative partnership with relevant stakeholders such as service providers, input suppliers, financial institutions, training institutions with the ultimate objective of lowering production costs.
This will enhance competitiveness of end products and hence increase profitability in the sector. Although the campaign is still ongoing some lucrative deals have already been struck.
Phole said through their respective regional organisations, farmers are urged to find a way to participate in the field day, conference and all other pertinent platforms. Terms and Conditions for one to represent others in the negotiations do exist.