The Department of Meteorological Services (DMS) recently presented to the stakeholders, a bleak seasonal rainfall outlook for the 2015/16 season . Just as we are emerging from a devastating 2014/15 drought things don’t seem t be getting any better, thus threatening the prospects for the agricultural sector. It is apparent that a wet season is no longer what we can no longer look forward to absolute certainty. As someone once said, it can go either way. Given this scenario what can be done about it?
In his official opening speech, the President of the Republic of Botswana, Lt. Gen. Ian Khama Seretse Khama couldn’t have put it more aptly: “This ravaging drought, we are currently experiencing, is yet another lesson that our farming practices should adapt to this environment. We should not surrender and abandon agriculture just because of droughts, but we can change the way we farm to produce food under such challenging conditions. It is an opportunity to be innovative and resort to new methods and technologies to produce under such conditions. It is for this reason that farming methods such as conservation agriculture are promoted,” he said.
We cannot do without agriculture it is what we need to stay alive. As we once pointed out in our previous editions, we all interact with the farmer at one level or another regardless of what sector or profession we belong. Our stomachs demand that of us.
However, in the face of the negative effects brought about by climate change in the recent years, it is apparent that the current farming practices will not sustain us. Therefore for agriculture to not only survive but thrive, our practices need to evolve and adapt to the changes in climate. Adaptation to the changing environmental factors has been known to be the key to survival for all forms of nature over the years and agriculture is no different.
A case in point is some of the nations in the Middle East whose agricultural practices continue to thrive despite the little rainfall that these countries receive. This, they have achieve through innovative techniques that ensure high levels of production.
Let us therefore as the agriculture sector to put our resources to work in order for us to realise optimum returns on our efforts under these unfavourable conditions. It is a good thing that some institutions are waking up to this reality and are stepping in to address this challenge. One such example is Entrepreneurial Agricultural Techniques (EAT) an agricultural training institution which has adopted the Middle East approach to agriculture.
“Climate change happens all over the world for example, countries in the Middle East like Israel have climatic conditions that are almost similar to ours yet they produce more than they consume. They achieve this through techniques training, this is what we want to achieve as EAT,” says Brian Mosimane, the institution’s representative.