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Israel fires up Batswana students into horticulture

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INSPIRED: The students were welcomed back home

35 Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) students arrived last week Friday from a one year attachment at Kinneret Academic College in Israel.

The programme exposes students to advanced technology in agriculture, research in the field as well as extension or practical work. Beaming with optimism, they exalted the virtues of agriculture in an interview with The Midweek Sun saying it can generate revenue for Botswana and reduce the food import bill if given the proper attention it deserves.

Olebogeng Matlhodi a student of BA Science in Food, Science and Technology plans to share the knowledge she gathered as well as produce something at national level. “Agriculture is advanced that side and people live good lives out of it. They take it very seriously and it is one of the top jobs one can go into.” She learnt about irrigation to produce food throughout the seasons and not depending on rain-fed agriculture as is the norm here.

Matlhodi, 23, was based in a carrot factory and learnt about taking care of carrots and packaging them. Jerry Sebowe who is pursuing BA Science in Agricultural Mechanisation worked in a tomato factory. He is adamant that Botswana will no longer import tomatoes if government can support them to practise what they learnt in Israel. “I was based at Berko Farm and the farm specialises in cucumber, basilica and tomato crops according to their seasons.

“I have learnt a lot about greenhouse, irrigation and tunnels use, which is what I want to share with local farmers and teach them about tomato care,” he said. Acting Vice Chancellor at BUAN Prof Shalaulani Nsoso said they want to ready their students through the programme to practice Commercial Agriculture. “Israel is an added advantage to our students because of the similar climatic conditions,” he said. The third group is expected to leave on Saturday for a similar programme. Transformation Coordinator at BUAN Dr Mataba Tapela is convinced that the advanced technology used in Israel will enable their students to strive to reach the same level in the field one day.

He noted that the students also got relevant information on dairy, high value crops, production, value addition, associated enterprises as well as marketing, which he believes would benefit the country at large. The university has 2 hectares of land within its premises and expect students to utilise the skills and knowledge that they got in Israel to produce crops.

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Church distances itself from Pastor who livestreamed his suicide

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Head Pastor at Metsimotlhabe Holiness Union Church France Koosimile has distanced his church from Phenyo Godfrey who committed suicide live on social media a week ago. Speaking to this publication this week, Koosimile said Godfrey was never a Pastor at Holiness church as assumed by many.

Godfrey, who goes by the name Bishop P Godfrey on social media, allegedly shot a video of himself committing suicide on Sunday evening. According to a few friends and those close to Godfrey, the deceased was from Molepolole and has been identified as a pastor at Holiness Union Church in Metsimotlhabe.

On the evening  of Sunday last week, he went live on Facebook and proceeded to put a rope around his neck. He was seen in the short video hanging by the neck until he took his last breath. TO READ THE FULL STORY, BUY THIS WEEK’S (11 August 2021)  PRINT EDITION OF THE MIDWEEK SUN AT A STORE NEAR YOU.

 

 

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Women challenged to step-up food production

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National Development Bank CEO, Lorato Morapedi has challenged women to take up more agribusiness ventures to cut down on the country’s food import bill.
With an annual P7 billion food import bill hanging over the country, Morapedi said women can significantly trim it down. “We need to get out of our comfort zones, let’s open our eyes and seize the opportunities,” said Morapedi, adding that women need to work in groups.
She emphasized that women should leverage on collective expertise found in clusters to grow the country’s food production sector.
“Grab the opportunities that exist with the food value chain,” she said, citing that women have been hard-hit by COVID-19 in their endeavors to put food on the table.
She further implored women not to shy away from finance development institutions (FDIs) to finance their projects. Morapedi bemoaned that a handful people are willing to go into food production despite the high import food bill that the country faces.
Very few people are doing food production; people are lazy to go into food production,” said Morapedi. She also highlighted that the country’s major supplier, South Africa is also not coping as COVID-19 challenges unravel.
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