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The Agri-Business Sector in Botswana
Although the contribution of the agricultural sector to Botswana’s GDP continues to decrease, reaching only 2.1% in 2017, the sector is the mainstay of the rural economy. World Bank data shows that 42% of Botswana’s population live in rural areas and approximately 70% of rural households depend on subsistence farming for their livelihood. More than 80% of the income of the agricultural sector is derived from livestock, while crop production contributes slightly less than 20%.
Limited Potential for Crop Production
Botswana has several agricultural policies and related instruments that are all based on the National Policy on Agricultural Development (NPAD) currently under review. Its goal is to improve food security at both household and national level and to conserve scarce agricultural and land resources for the future. Despite continued government support for the development and modernisation of the agri-business sector, the growing of crops is still dominated by rain-fed subsistence farming carried out by farmers using traditional farming methods. These are characterised by the limited use of fertiliser and certified seeds, low mechanisation, limited irrigation and low productivity. Even on commercial farms, which are mechanised and use modern inputs such as fertilisers, hybrid seeds and pesticides, the potential for greatly increased crop production is low because of the semi-arid climate, low soil fertility in most areas and recurring drought.
The report on the Agri-Business sector in Botswana discusses horticulture and the growing of crops, government support for the sector, and other factors that influence current and future production. Profiles for five role players are provided including Langdon Organic Farms (Pty) Ltd which trades as Go Fresh! In its greenhouse operations in Gabarone and Maun, 100 tons of fresh produce is cultivated every year. Also profiled is Noka Farm (Pty) Ltd which cultivates only 60 hectares of its total farming area of 157.22 hectares.