Farmers’ Clubs, Food Security Key to Community Health
Farmers’ Clubs is Humana People to People concept designed to assist small-scale farmers to improve agriculture production to strengthen household food security and also house-hold economies. Through it, Humana People to People Botswana works with small-scale farmers to adapt and mitigate climate change and at the same time protecting the environment.In Botswana, agriculture contributes around 2% to national GDP while 80% of the population is dependent on it, especially rain-fed arable agriculture for subsistence and income.
Regardless of the above, agriculture remains an important social-economic livelihood endeavour for majority of Batswana living in the rural areas for income, employment and indispensable to attain national food security.HPP has been running Farmers’ Clubs around Palapye areas of Topisi, Mahibitswane and Moreomabele since 2016. We worked in close partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Development and Food Security and the farming community to ensure that farmers are organized and equipped with skills and tools that support them to create environmentally friendly and sustainable livelihoods.
The setting up of the Farmers clubs was based on Humana People to People principle that everlasting development takes place when people are organized and equipped with skills and knowledge to build their own change. The government of Botswana has policies geared to supporting small-scale farmers to mitigate the challenges of farming in a hot and arid climate. The challenge still exists to ensure sustainable productivity in the wake of impacts of climate change and organizing small-scale farmers into organic and functioning groups for peer learning.
The core principle of Farmers’ Clubs with the support of Agriculture Extension Services in Palapye had always advocated for conservation agriculture as one of the measures to mitigate against high temperatures in the area of Topisi and Moreomabele. It is proven that sustainable farming has the potential to increase small-scale farmers' productivity and transform farming into a viable venture in Palapye area.
Although Humana People to People Botswana did not have funding to intensify its activities, the farmers within the Farmers’ Clubs program reported that the clubs offered a great opportunity to increase food security at household level there by contributing to Government’s effort to scale up the production of subsistence farmers in the country. As such the program helped to realize the implementation of Integrated Support Program for Arable Agriculture Development (ISPAAD) and the Livestock Management and Infrastructure Development (LIMID).
The project reached out to 25 farmers in Mahibitswane IFAD supported Irrigation Project and also to 35 small farmers in Moreomabele. Besides, the project forged strategic partnerships with MEECO, a private company to develop partnership to seek funding for climate change adaptation from the Green Climate Fund for the year 2020.