Population increase is one of the issues that lead to high demand for food, Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Dr Edwin Dikoloti has said.
Speaking during the Vice President’s visit to Mabutsane on Friday, he said demand for food resulted in additional use of arable land and water, hence challenging Batswana to step up the gear in food production.
Dr Dikoloti said agricultural policies, commodity prices and economic development impacted on food security, but demographic trends also played a role.
He said this was true in the absence of adequate food production technologies and integrated robust programmes that simultaneously addressed community needs for food and reproductive health.
He said the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) projected that by 2050, population and economic growth would result in a doubling of demand for food globally.
He spoke of the need to address health needs of families in the developing world, including through increased access to family planning that would help slow rapid population growth, improve health of families and enhance food security.
He said the impacts of climate change on temperature and precipitation did not help the situation since they diminished agricultural productivity that lessened food security.
Dr Dikoloti said his ministry was doing everything in its power to ensure that the country was self-sufficient in agricultural produce.
He said self-sufficiency in food production required a lot of things, among them good land management systems, rain conservation, modern farming technologies and adaptation to ever changing climatic conditions that called for knowledge based farming.
Money injected into agriculture should be commensurate with produce, adding that COVID-19 should inspire all to contribute food self-sufficiency.
He called on the youth to partake in agriculture.
Dr Dikoloti said infrastructure such as roads, electricity, fuel depot as well as information and communications technologies (ICTs) should be improved because they were enablers of production.
He said subsistence, emerging and commercial farmers should all contribute to food security if the country was to realise the goal of being self-sufficient.
He spoke of the need to embrace new farming technologies in the country to increase out-put per hectare and urged pastoral farmers to get more exposure in managing diseases to increase beef production.
He further touched on ranch management systems citing pasture controlling of bush encroachment to create more grazing lands
He said most lost jobs owing to COVID-19 aftermath, but agriculture had job security, hence advising residents to explore the value chain of agriculture and set up processing industries in production zones that would create employment.
He said Mabutsane was blessed with morama, so residents should take advantage and strive set up an oil processing factory.