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November 27, 2011

The cost of neglecting farms in Botswana

Botswana has blacklisted 1,587 arable farmers since 2009 for leaving their lands unattended.

"For the 2010/2011 cropping season the recorded number of blacklisted farmers currently stands at 363, while the number of farmers who were blacklisted in the country in the 2009/2010 cropping season is 1,224," said assistant Agriculture minister Oreeditse Molebatsi at a press briefing.

Mr Molebatsi said the farmers were blacklisted because they did not monitor fields after ploughing, some left crops to be destroyed by livestock, others failed to fence their farms while the rest neglected fields or failed to weed.

Despite the fact that Botswana is still recovering from the recent economic recession and the fact that it is advocating for productive agricultural growth in its economic diversification drive, the government is adamant it not to assist blacklisted farmers until the farmers prove to the authorities that they are fully committed.

"Government will only resume assisting the blacklisted farmers only after they have showed commitment to taking care of their fields. If farmers show commitment they will be taken back on board," said Mr. Molebatsi.

Moreover, he said that farmers should have ploughed, bought seeds and fertilizer for themselves, benefits which the farmers enjoyed free of charge from the government before being blacklisted.

"The total ploughed or planted area that was destroyed by livestock in the Shoshong constituency during 2010/2011 was 306.45 hectares with inputs costs amounting to $19,200," he said.


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