Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) says it will improve the agricultural sector through the use of technology if given mandate for another five (5) years to rule. The party stated in its 2019 Manifesto that the BDP led government will change the current land tenure system under tribal land grant that limits and affords the majority of Batswana only use rights over land.“The BDP promises to use new technologies that create new ways of responding to existing needs and significantly disrupt existing agriculture value chain.
“Efficient technologies such as threshers, shelling of produce, and quality assurance of produce will be afforded to agricultural producers to participate in the industry in ways that are meaningfully profitable,” reads the Manifesto. The party said the new changes in land tenure system will accord owner rights over such land.
Individual landowners will be able to use their land for entrepreneurial purposes such as presenting such land as equity or security when seeking development finance from financing institutions, explained the BDP. According to the party processing of agricultural produce from local producers must supply and serve manufacturing entities resident in the country such as the National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC). Manufacturing start-ups, the BDP said will be supported in varied ways, including sourcing of raw materials where local produce falls short, through parastatals such as Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB).
Financing institutions, both private and state owned, will be supported to create financing ways suitable for start-ups and well-established incumbent entities. “The BDP led government will stimulate start-ups through guaranteed access to captive markets, for example, sales to schools, institutions such as the police, prisons, army and other government institutions. “In the next five years, the BDP government will support small farms’ viability, and in the process, unlock Botswana’s potential as a food hub. We will fulfil Botswana’s enormous potential as a producer of high-quality food and drink, both for local use and export.
“We will introduce and support a linked approach in government policy on agriculture to maximise the potential links between food production and tourism. Small-scale producers will be supported to go after niche markets through the innovative use of protected food designation” stated the party. The BDP further revealed that it will encourage greater emphasis on quality and uniqueness in Botswana produce. BDP’s goal is to significantly increase Government support for training, upskilling, and getting start-ups for small farmers.
The Manifesto indicates that the BDP will roll-out training courses through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and BUAN, to better equip farmers with essential agri-business management skills, in order to give them the best possible start in farming. m“The BDP government will increase opportunities and support farmers to produce, process, market, and to sell directly to the public. We will better support the establishment of new producer groups across the country. “We will also incentivise the development of new cooperatives, so that farmers can access appropriate marketing and financing.”