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Farmers fear bleak harvest ahead

Keikantse Lesemela

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Farmers are facing a bleak harvest season following poor rainfalls which are likely to lead to stunted growth of crops in most parts of the country.

Last week the Business Trends met with farmers in Kanngwe who expressed their hopeless expectations to harvest this year. Masego Ofentse said she planted a 50 hectare field but two thirds of the crops have wilted due to extreme high temperatures. She planted maize, sorghum and black eye beans. “I am not going to get food from this field, almost all the crops have been affected by extreme heat therefore they failed to produce food.

This is a bad year for us,” said a downbeat Ofentse. Meanwhile, John Phirinyane planted 320 hactares of maize in an 800 hactare field but all the crops could not pollinate. “I planted a lower portion this year because I realised there is insufficient rainfall. All these crops in the field are not going to yield harvest, it’s a huge loss,” said Phirinyane.

Gofaone Mapitse ploughed 405 hacters in a 600 hactare field and he is expecting only 20 percent harvest from the field. He said this year he ploughed in lower ration due to lack of resources and insufficient rainfall.

“This year the banks could not give us loans because we still have arrears from last year. We are negotiating with the government to help us clear the arrears” Mapitse said last year the government paid 85 percent to banks and farmers only paid 15 percent but this year the government only gave them 30 percent.

Each year, government spends about P600 million on the agricultural inputs programme for citizen farmers and in the last four years about P800 million was spent on drought relief initiatives. Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Patrick Ralotsia has told the media that experts are still finalising estimates of the harvest, but already they reckon farmers will get only 40 percent or less of what they planted this season. “Even more worrying is that major producing areas like Pandamatenga and Mosisedi have not been spared by the poor rains.

There was a time at the beginning of the season when we thought things would be good, but now if you see what’s happening across our districts, you would be quite shocked.Most of the crops planted are stunted and already showing signs of wilting,” said Ralotsia.

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OLOPENG HEAPS PRAISE ON BSE FINANCE CHALLENGE

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Minister Thapelo Olopeng

Botswana Stock Exchange’s annual finance and investment competition for secondary school students has been applauded by the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Thapelo Olopeng.

The initiative, a capital market awareness tool that has been running for the past seven years, is increasing financial literacy and a culture of investment among young people. The initiative will see the country raise future billionaires through the stock markets. “It is a breath of fresh air to have tertiary students who are financially literate, who can manage their finances,” said the minister.

He urged students to invest even the smallest allowances they earn and have a hassle-free life after university. “Investing on the stock exchange is not only preserved for the rich, but for anyone with a bank account,” said Olopeng.

The minister said the secondary schools finance and investment competition is participation of the private sector in bridging the knowledge divide.Olopeng said the private sector participation augments his ministry’s efforts of providing and building knowledge and innovation through the development and implementation of the policy on tertiary education, research, science and technology to transform the economy from a resource based to a knowledge based.

“In this connection, we will continue to empower our students in order for them to lead better and successful lives which can propel them into the innovation ecosystem,” said Olopeng. BSE Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole said the Senior Secondary Schools Finance and Investment Competition, first established in 2013 aims to sensitise and educate the student community about capital markets, with the strategic aim to increase financial literacy and promote a culture of investing at a young age.

The competition is open to all senior secondary schools across the country, including private and public senior secondary schools.

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WE ARE NOT USING DIAMONDS TO KILL ELEPHANTS, THAT’S HOGWASH! – BOTSWANA MINISTER

The MidweekSun Admin

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Orapa Mine, part of Debswana

Botswana is not using diamonds to kill elephants as alleged by some conservationists after the southern African country announced plans to lift a ban on elephant hunting to address growing conflict between humans and wildlife, a government official has said.

Minister of mineral resources, Green technology and energy security Eric Molale told a mining conference in Gaborone on Monday that the activists were tarnishing the image of Botswana. “That’s hogwash because we as Botswana are [good] conservationists and it is us who worked hard to make sure these elephants [are] brought to the numbers that we do have now,” he said.

“When conflicts arise, it is through consultation, [that we] find out how we can best manage our resources. The people have spoken and we are going to be managing the elephants in the best way that we can.

“We are not culling, we have re-introduced the trophy hunting and if you take 400 elephants per annum for trophy hunting against the 3-5% annual growth rate of the elephant herd that we have…[we are] just barely scratching on the surface.”

Botswana has about 130 000 elephants, the world’s largest population.Molale said Botswana will remain focused on things that are beneficial to the country and will not be distracted by issues spread by people that are not even privy to how things are done in the country.

“We have, however, invited them to come and learn more about what we are doing so they can better understand those important aspects of flora and fauna…”The conflict between humans and elephants had gone up since the ban was introduced in 2014.

Tourism is the second source of foreign income in Botswana after diamonds and conservationists fear that the former will be affected is the government cull elephant.
[Rough and Polished]

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