BAMB, BOHOCO partner to improve food security
Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) and Botswana Horticulture Council (BOHOCO) have signed an agreement in order to improve food security in the country.
BAMB Chief Executive Officer, Leonard Morakaladiexplained the partnership forms part of BAMB’s strategy as it strives to diversify its project portfolio as well as ensuring that areas of production, including the horticulture market, are taken care of.
“This is a market for us that we are late entrant to because we never tapped into it,” admitted Morakaladi, noting that the country cannot achieve food security or self-reliance if relevant stakeholders do not work together. The partnership will also look at areas such as capacity building. Morakaladi revealed they agreed to forge a close partnership with BOHOCO after realising there are areas that the two entities could work together on.
“Our mandate among our strategy is that we want to assist BOHOCO and its members to realise meaningful production levels per hectare. We know that there are countries out there which are in a worst situation but are doing better than us,” he highlighted. Through the partnership, Morakaladi said they will be exposing BOHOCO to opportunities and providing expertise which they will share with them.
“We will run projects together, such that eventually as a country we can end up in a position counted among countries which are exporting. Our country is situated in a space where we can be a gateway to the north,” he said, stressing it was time for Botswana to start selling its tomatoes to the international market, Middle East and others.
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For his part, BOHOCO chairperson, BoikaegoPhole, whose council was registered in 1999, emphasised its mandate is to bring all the stakeholders together through the value chain of horticulture.
Phole said in 2016, as part of its strategy, the council launched a campaign called ‘Discovering Botswana’s Second Diamond’ – the Green Diamond. He said the intention was to find all stakeholders and unite them in order to show the importance of horticulture in the country.
“Many times when agriculture is mentioned, most think primarily of cattle. Yes we do agree and support that, but as the horticulture sector, we have done our assignment and horticulture will overtake beef,” predicted Phole, who explained that in 2014 they engaged a consultant to carry out research in the sector.
He added that the sector has the potential to produce many jobs compared to other sub-sectors in agriculture – hence likening it to a diamond.
Phole concluded by declaring the local horticultural sector dream’s of exporting their produce and is eyeing the SADC region for starters.