Boards spends P140 million on local farmers
In the midst of tough trading conditions, Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) maintains there is positivity in the organisation’s financial performance.
Despite the drought experienced in the past ploughing season, BAMB CEO, Leonard Morakaladi revealed the board garnered some growth during the second quarter of the 2019/20 financial year.
Updating the media on BAMB’s financial performance this Tuesday, Morakaladi said, “In terms of where this growth is coming from, looking at our portfolio of the grain side, the key driver was sorghum which is a reflection of what we are able to procure as BAMB looking at the drought situation.”
He explained sorghum is naturally resilient when it comes to drought, which is why the crop drove the bulk of BAMB’s procurement.
“We just came out of the harvest season and we spent close to P140 million on our local farmers against a total of 44 000 metric tonnes of grains, which is predominately sorghum.”
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Morakaladi further noted the lack of rain meant maize was almost non-existent in the latest harvest season.
Despite the dry weather, the BAMB leader declared a 14 percent increase in grain purchases compared to last year.
“We were expecting that because the drought was quite severe perhaps we were going to get relatively lower supplies. But because of Pandamatenga’s contribution, we were able to get a little bit more,” he said, adding the bulk of the P140 million was spent on Panda farmers, procuring half of the total grains bought during the period.
According to Morakaladi, the southern part of the country, which traditionally supplies maize, experienced widespread crop failure.
“But we went ahead for them to salvage something out of their efforts and bought residues as we encouraged them to bail up the failed crops. Most of them sold to us so that they can recover, not enough obviously to cover all their costs, but it was far better than walking away with nothing!”
Besides grain production, Morakaladi pointed out there is much they can get from farmers.
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Painting a picture of the last few years in terms of grain purchase, he said maize has been drastically deteriorating because of the hostile weather.
“Our main focus now is to educate farmers on how best to produce more with the challenges that we have like the dry seasons and so on,” he stressed.
Morakaladi added that whilst there has been an increase in grain purchases between 2018 and 2019, it would be extremely beneficial if there was traction towards improving maize production, pulses and other crops.
Indeed, he announced BAMB is increasing buying prices of other crops in order to encourage farmers to produce a variety of crops.