The Pandamatenga Agriculture Infrastructural Development Project will this year get another shot in the arm from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Last Friday, the bank put out a tender for the construction of additional 120-kilometre drainage systems for the Pandamatenga Farms.
The bank is the main sponsor of the farms. The other sponsors are the Botswana government and the beneficiaries themselves - the Pandamatenga farmers. ADB is sponsoring 86.78 percent of the total project cost, financing most of the costs associated with the civil works, all goods and services as well as certain operating costs. The government of Botswana’s contribution is 12.95 percent of project costs which include salaries of project staff, and construction of minor civil works. The farmers’ contribution amounts to 0.27 percent and is going towards operating cost and maintenance for farm machinery and associated equipment.
Although the Pandamatenga area offers great potential of agricultural productivity with its relatively high rainfall and fertile soil, the frequent flooding of the farms and lack of an all-weather road network constrains productivity.
A 1998 technical report highlighted water drainage works and internal access roads as long-term remedies and a detailed design report was subsequently produced in 2003. Thereafter, the government requested funding from AfDB in May 2006, following which various bank missions visited Botswana to collect additional information and consult with stakeholders. The objective of the project is to develop appropriate water control/drainage system and access road network in Pandamatenga. It is hoped that an efficient drainage infrastructure and favourable soil and weather conditions can play a vital role in meeting the national demand for cereal. It is further projected that the implementation of the project will contribute to the national food security targets of increasing the total crop production in Botswana by 20 percent in 2016.
On the whole, AfDB, which sees the project as “technically feasible, economically viable and socially desirable”, hopes that the development of water drainage and access road infrastructure, as well as providing technical support would lead to increased production, minimise crop losses and increase incomes of farmers. Overall, AfDB says that the project will allow increasing Botswana’s food security, agri-business development, improved employment and income creation of 60 jobs during construction phase and 600-750 seasonal jobs during operational phase and optimise its resilience to extreme natural events.
The ministry of agriculture is executing agency through the department of crop production. The project will be implemented within the existing framework established by the government for Pandamatenga farms.
For the latest bid, the bank does not have the small business person in mind. Bids, which must be delivered to ministry headquarters in Gaborone by March 3, must be accompanied by a security deposit of P3 million and some procurement of civil works will be carried out under international competitive bidding rules. However, temporary works are being procured using Botswana’s national bidding procedures. The construction period for the drainage system is exactly two years.
Cooperation between the African Development Bank and Botswana dates back to 1972. As of October 2012, the Bank had financed 50 operations (41 loan projects, seven institutional support operations, and two studies) valued at approximately US$2.1 billion. The Botswana projects that the bank has funded are primarily in the areas of infrastructure (power, transport, water and sanitation, communication), agriculture, finance and multi-sector.