The just ended Ghanzi Show 2015 serves as an example of how agriculture can have positive far reaching effects on the economy outside the sector itself. At this time of the year people from all walks of life around Botswana (and yes even from outside of Botswana!) gather for this exciting agricultural event of the year.
Hotels, lodges and guest houses all record full bookings. Understandably some bookings are even made a year in advance just of the show! Around this time of the year every other downstream business seems to thrive too. All this because of one agricultural event built around the farmer.
Speaking at the recently ended Ghanzi Show, the guest speaker and Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Tourism Organisation(BTO), Brian Dithebe said; “Events such as these have significant economic spin offs and help to promote the district and its offerings, while providing a benchmark for other districts to develop similar events.”
By using the Ghanzi Show as a template, as the BTO CEO said, other districts stand to stimulate their own economies by not only promoting agriculture in those areas but also tourism and other sectors as well. The reason why we use Ghanzi Show as an example that is worth emulating is because the event is driven by the local farmers right from the planning stage to the sourcing of sponsors. It indeed is a demonstration of how effective individuals can be if they come together. One only has to look at the effect the show is having on the local economy, though only for a season.
Going on to the theme of the show, which was; ’Practicing smart agriculture to combat effects of climate change’ the show once again reiterates a challenge that has in recent years, been devilling the local agricultural scene. To quote Dithebe; “Given the current global climatic changes which bring about, amongst other things, famines and pestilences; a holistic approach in the way in the way in which we dispense and utilize our resources is of importance. This implies sustainable use of agricultural resources, such as rangelands, agro-forests, crops fields, soils, crop species (cultivars), cattle breeds, small stock, poultry…”
It is clear that the only way we can stay afloat and prosper in the face of climatic change is to call on our God given ability to be inventive and innovative in our agricultural practices. Climate change can also be seen as an opportunity for those with entrepreneurial drive to come up with solutions to solve problems faced by the farmer. For entrepreneurship thrives where there are problems.
Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of the magazine as we feature some stories and articles that we hope will be of benefit to you.FMB