Barclays Bank of Botswana (BBB) Managing Director, Reinette van der Merwe has hailed young female farmers for playing a pivotal role towards ensuring food security.
Speaking to a group of 20 young female farmers at a high tea facilitated by the bank’s Agribusiness unit on Monday, the MD noted that the bank recognizes the role played by young female farmers in support of economic diversification, job creation, and food security.
The aim of the engagement was for the young farmers to share skills, knowledge and also for the bank to deepen relationships with the agricultural community, which it steadfastly continues to support by delivering relevant, innovative and value-adding solutions. It was attended by horticulturalists, poultry, cattle, and small stock farmers.
Van der Merwe however, highlighted that there was a need for effective capacity building programmes and a vibrant extensive service. These, she said, are important interventions that can turnaround the agricultural sector and output and also contribute to both food security and GDP.
For his part, BBB Head of Business Banking, Andre Potgieter said more than half of Africa’s population is made up of young people and as such, it’s very important for the bank to be working with young farmers, who, he said, play a vital role in securing Botswana’s food security.
“AgriBusiness continues to be a very important sector for us at Barclays and we are keen to support young farmers as well as other strategic initiatives like field days organized by different farming blocks,” he concluded.
Voice money spoke to 22-year-old Tlotlo Phuduhudu, an animal feed producer based in Molepolole. She is currently operating with a prototype that uses crop residue and some indigenous trees to alleviate intestinal worms in goats.
“It was a great platform as I learned the importance of collaboration as women in business and that as women we should empower and inspire each other,” said an excited Phuduhudu speaking of the BBB high tea.
Phuduhudu, whose main clients are rural small stock farmers and women clusters said the event also highlighted the importance of showing youngsters the importance of agriculture and its opportunities.
Another farmer, 22-year-old Maduo Baganne who runs a cake academy in Molepolole and Gaborone to raise funds for her goat production dream, said she got inspiration from her father.
“Goats are easy to manage, reliable and one can raise more money within a short period of time if they are willing to work hard,” she said excitedly.
Speaking of the high tea, Baganne said it was a welcome development as it motivated young women to start and grow their dreams early on and learn to face their challenges “especially since the agricultural sector is a male-dominated industry.”