The report on the Growing of Crops and Horticulture in Botswana describes the local agricultural sector, government attempts to support and improve crop production and factors influencing the success of the sector. The report also profiles five stakeholders including state-owned enterprise, the Botswana Development Corporation Ltd (BDC) and the country’s major supplier of seeds, Seed Co International Ltd.
The Growing of Crops and Horticulture in Botswana
The Agricultural Sector
This report focuses on the growing of crops and horticulture in Botswana where the contribution of the agricultural sector to GDP has declined drastically, from 40% at Independence in 1966 to 2.3% in 2013. Despite this, agriculture remains the mainstay of the rural economy, as 38% of the population still lives in rural areas. The most recent census showed there were only 159 commercial farms compared to 77,776 traditional arable farms with an average size of 5 hectares. This has resulted in low crop production which means that food for domestic consumption has to be met by imports. During periods of drought, imports of food may increase to 90% of total demand.
Government support for the sector is strong because of the huge untapped potential in terms of job creation, rural income generation and food security. The Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agriculture Development, Livestock Management and Infrastructure Development Programme and animal disease control measures are all key interventions for progress within the sector. However, the sector is threatened by significant environmental concerns including overgrazing and desertification. Climate change is regarded by many as the most serious as average temperatures are expected to increase by an average 2°C by the end of 2015 and river flows are forecast to decline by 13%.