The Minister of Agriculture Patrick Ralotsia has called on Batswana to take an active role in making agriculture a success notwithstanding the climatic challenges the country faces. Ralotsia said with climate posing serious challenges, it is vital to come up with innovative ways to combat the adverse effects of such impositions. He warned that dependence on rain-fed agriculture and poor soil increases vulnerability of farming systems which predisposes rural households to food insecurity and poverty.
Speaking at the official opening of the National Agricultural Show on Thursday, Ralotsia said climate smart agriculture is therefore imperative for addressing the adverse impacts of climate change on issues of food security. “Climate smart agriculture uses conservation agriculture techniques, drought tolerant crop varieties and livestock breeds as interventions against negative impacts of climate change,” said Ralotsia.
This year’s show was held under the theme; “Practising smart agriculture to combat the effect of climate change.” When officially opening the show, the Ambassador of Japan to Botswana Masahiro Onishi said this theme is very fitting since the Botswana has been stricken by drought due to climate change. Onishi concurred with Ralotsia for the need to adapt new farming technologies. “The theme is an indication of commitment and dedication to environmental friendly and sustainable agriculture which will go a long way in minimising the detrimental effects of climate change which is a global concern at the moment,” he said. The ambassador said he was impressed by the continued growth of the show, adding that multitudes that came to the show will not only make the event a success but will in the long run help to address the theme.
Japan has been helping Botswana with modern technologies on environmental management to adapt to climate change. These include the forest initiative under which Japan assist Botswana in preserving her forests. In agriculture, the ministry of Agriculture entered an agreement with Nara Institute of Science and Technology of Japan on the commercialisation of a research technology involving the use of genes found in Botswana melons. Onishi said a significant project which is relevant to the Botswana agriculture show is the Jatropha research project.