Farmer’s Clubs program starts in Botswana
Small scale farming in Botswana is the most important source of rural livelihoods and is vital to attaining national food security. Despite only contributing 2% to national GDP, over 80 % of Botswana’s rural population is dependent on agriculture for subsistence and income. However, Botswana’s small scale farmers are facing many challenges like poverty, lack of access to markets, climate variability and change, that hinder their sustainability.
In an effort to complement the efforts of Government in reducing rural poverty and improving food security, Humana People to People Botswana started the Farmers Clubs Program as from May 2017, implemented through HOPE Humana Palapye. The program is funded by First National Bank Foundation, and later the Seed Co. Group of Companies joined in to provide technical support such as trainings, field work support, procurement of materials and implements, and the Ministry of Agriculture & Food Security provides technical support and guidance for the program.
Farmer’s Clubs organize small holder farmers to join forces to further the agricultural production of each farmer to enable them improve their living standard. It teaches farmers to be efficient in food production, to improve the land, to create surplus produce and sell the produce. It offers ideas for low cost solutions, introduces low technological farming methods and trains farmers on issues of agriculture, organization and environmental sustainability to manage their economy development.
Mobilization of farmers has already began as HOPE Humana Palapye continues to hold meetings with farmers from Palapye and surrounding villages, joined by the Ministry of Agriculture & Food Security, which plays a very essential role of ensuring that all farmers registered under its office takes part in the implementation.
The Palapye area already has hundreds of farmers supported by government in different respects so as to increase productivity, but the farmers are currently not in a state of organization for proper production, as the existing cooperative association needs strengthening; and there is no farmers’ marketing association available.
A lot of work still needs to be done to make the program a success, and any support from other private institutions would benefit the rural farmers to be able to sustain themselves going forward.
The Farmer’s Club Program in Botswana will be able to assist the Government to scale up production by small scale farmers, and contributes to the implementation of existing programs like ISPAAD, LIMID and NAMPAAD.