Photo: Ms. Kagiso Johane, Ratoccs Farms, UNDP SDP Supplier

Selebi Phikwe, Botswana, April 27 - 29, 2021 – The UNDP Business Supplier Development Programme (SDP) held a three-day training on “Best Practices in Horticultural Technologies”. The training was held in the Selebi Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) region, with sessions running in Selebi Phikwe and Tonota.

In his welcome remarks, Mr. Daniel Gareebine, SDP Consultant, noted that the objective of the SDP is to increase productive capacity of SMMEs in Botswana to in turn create jobs, diversify the economy and build sustainable growth and development for the country.  UNDP has enrolled horticultural farmers in the SPEDU region, on the SDP, under the National Agro-Processing Plant (NAPro) supply chain.  In working with NAPro farmers during Year one of the SDP, Mr. Gareebine presented that it was established that ineffective technologies remain one of the major contributing factors to the low output and poor commercial performance of horticulture farmers in Botswana. Farmers do not use best practice farming methods, they do not have access to climate control equipment, access to improved inputs (e.g. seeds varieties, fertilizers) and, finally, they do not use efficient harvesting and harvest preservation methods.

Reports also indicated that farmers desire to acquire technology to improve their productive output but are constrained by lack of funding, and the lack of knowledge of available technologies and its adoption. It is in this background that the UNDP-SDP unit hosted the workshop on ‘Best Practices in Horticultural Technologies’.

The event was officially opened by Honourable Molebatsi Molebatsi, Assistant Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry. Hon. Molebatsi acknowledged the SDP for its focus on value chain development in Botswana as it is in line with Governments strategic goals to advance development in key industries towards increased employment, business development for SMMEs and wealth creation for Batswana. The Assistant Minister highlighted that COVID-19 has taught us lessons about the dangers of not being self-sufficient. “We dream of a Botswana where we will have enough food that we would not need to import from other countries, but that we would become the supplier through some of the trade agreements such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)” said the Assistant Minister.

Hon. Molebatsi further expressed the commitment of the government to continue fostering the partnership between MITI and UNDP Botswana through programmes such as the SDP. He called for all those stakeholders involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to pull together to ensure synergies in their efforts to build SMME development in Botswana. In closing, Hon. Molebatsi called for support from the private sector, particularly the financing institutions to come on board to back the programme and provide financial support to its suppliers and encouraged the farmers to take full advantage of the opportunity presented through the horticulture technologies training.

The objective of the workshop was to impart awareness and knowledge on best practice horticulture technologies for improved productive output and economic efficiency of farming enterprises. The training was attended by fifty participants, twenty of whom were farmers on the NAPRO supply chain, together with other UNDP stakeholders in the agri-business sector such as the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security, SPEDU, NAPRO, the Poverty Eradication Coordination Unit (PECU), Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) and the SDP Consultants working in the region.

Farmers were taken through lessons on irrigation methods and their investments costs; sustainability and climate smart agriculture; crop production in controlled environments; managing a seedling nursery; soil health testing; plant pests and diseases; and scaling an agribusiness. The training was advanced through a two-day classroom session followed by a 1-day farm tour and soil test demonstration at Ratoccs Farms in Ditladi, owned by a female SDP Year 1 Supplier.

About UNDP-SDP: The UNDP-SDP brings together three partners in a tripartite partnership. This involves large regional and local firms (Buyers), that are encouraged to buy from local small and medium businesses (Suppliers), that are supported and mentored by UNDP trained Consultants.

For more information and media interviews, contact:

Lebogang Tlhaloso, UNDP Communications Associate - Tel: +267 363 3745; | Mobile: +267 71 686 682; Email: lebogang.tlhaloso@undp.org

Bame Modungwa, Project Officer – SDP - Tel: +267 363 3700; | Mobile: +267 74793355; | Email: Bame.Modungwa@undp.org

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