The Chinese Ambassador to Botswana, Dr Zhao Yanbo has commended the Botswana government for its commitment to the development of the agricultural sector.
“We have all witnessed tremendous efforts being made to agricultural development in Botswana as illustrated in the National Development Plant (NDP11) and His Excellency President Khama’s State of the Nation Address.
Today’s event is another vivid display of such endeavor for which I am deeply impressed,” he told a gathering of commercial farmers during the Mosisedi Harvest Day in Borolong on Saturday.
Yanbo noted that different parts of the world have experienced flood and drought in the past few years due to climate change. He pointed out that his country and Botswana share similar positions on climate change issues saying this provides opportunities for cooperation in the agriculture sector.
He said that the agricultural modernisation was the key to development. The ambassador explained that China with over 1.3 billion people, its population was a concern for some time in the past because many scholars doubted its ability to feed its people. He noted that food security has never been an insignificant issue for such a big country.
Yanbo added that the importance of agriculture touches on national security hence his country issues it’s number one policy document codifying agriculture development priorities at the beginning of each year.
He said that China produced 61, 624 million metric tons of grains in 2016, which is more than they could consume which was why they currently export many agricultural products. “Chinese government attaches great importance to its agricultural cooperation with Africa.
As the world’s second largest friend to Africa, China feels obliged to contribute to Africa including Botswana with its agricultural development, technology improvement and production capacity building. China will share its experience in agricultural development with Africa and transfer readily applicable technologies to Africa,” he said.
He encouraged Chinese enterprises to engage in large-scale farming, livestock farming grain storage and processing in Africa to create more local jobs and increase income.
For his part, the Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the farmer’s contribution and feedback would help the Government improve its agricultural policies to ensure prosperity for all.
“I am reliably informed that this Association comprises of 25 farmers who collectively till over 10,000 hectares of land with the common objective of ensuring food security for the country,” he said.
Masisi noted that 50 percent of the local population was dependent on rain-fed agriculture for their livelihoods. He pointed out that the last few years had served to underscore their collective vulnerability to the impact of climate change.
He further explained that despite those challenges, the support of Government to the agricultural sector had remained steadfast through various technical and financial assistance programmes.