Panadamatenga Agricultural Infrastructure Development Project
- Reference: P-BW-AAC-001
- Approval date: 09/09/2008
- Start date: 16/10/2009
- Appraisal Date: 01/07/2007
- Status: OngoingOnGo
- Implementing Agency: MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE
- Location: PANDAMATENGA AREA
Botswana is one of the luckier African countries. Since its independence in 1966, it has had no history of civil war or serious conflict, has enjoyed an unbroken multi-party democracy, maintained a good human rights and corruption record and lately has become a tourism destination.
But its geography, which includes the Kalahari Desert, means it has poor agricultural resources. Only five per cent of its territory is classified as arable, and most of that is not under cultivation. In fact, less than one per cent of Botswana’s land is being farmed. On top of that, the soil is generally thin and has limited fertility, and the country’s rainfall is low and erratic.
A major new project, jointly funded by the African Development Bank and the Botswana government and which started up in September, hopes to improve that sorry situation. In fact, it aims to boost cereal production by up to five times in the project area.
The Pandamatenga Agricultural Infrastructure Development Project is funded to the tune of tune of UAC 42.94 million, of which UAC 5.67 million is provided by the Government of Botswana while AfDB is supplying the other UAC 37.27 million. It will run for four years.
The Pandamatenga area was chosen as the most suitable for a boost to arable production. Its farms currently contribute some 50 per cent of the country’s cereal production. The productivity improvements will come about as the result of the construction of a water drainage system together with a new road network to improve access to the farms in the area, and will cover more than 27,500 hectares of farmland.
The water drainage system will solve the water logging problem in the region, which is causing estimated annual losses of about US$ 340,000, as well as reduce losses caused by floods.
The projected improvements in fertility are impressive. The objective is to increase cereal production for the smaller, traditional farmers from only half a metric tonne per hectare to five times that – 2.5 metric tonnes per hectare. For large-scale farmers, the productivity boosts is expected to be 75 per cent – from the current two metric tonnes per hectare to 3.5 metric tonnes per hectare.
In total, the project has the potential to produce up to 4 tons of sorghum per hectare. That translates into an annual production of 100,000 tons of sorghum over the whole project area, worth US$ 24 million in income at 2008 prices.
In addition, the project will provide training for farmers, farm machinery support and the development of bee-keeping for honey production.
The project will also strengthen the human and logistical capability of Botswana’s Ministry of Agriculture through improved laboratory facilities and staff training.
SOLIMAN Wael Mohamed Roshdy - OSAN1