INTERNATIONAL – Botswana’s Agricultural Ministry has submitted a funding request to the African Development Bank (AfDB) for an undisclosed amount to launch an integrated agro-commercial development project, a senior official said Monday.
The ministry aimed to engage a transactional advisor and carry out next steps incorporated in the project, dubbed as Zambezi Integrated Agro-Commercial Development Project, according to Fidelis Molao, Botswana’s minister of agricultural development and food security.
The project was launched to improve Botswana’s food security, diversify the sector, contribute to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and create about 3,000 jobs, said Molao at the annual Chobe Agricultural Show in the country’s northwestern district of Chobe.
A feasibility study for the project was carried out from 2014 to 2015, including the conceptual design, financial and economic analyses, and environmental and social impact assessment, he said.
The project is anticipated to create opportunities for Botswanans to be involved as entrepreneurs, he added.
Farmers in Chobe plant short-term crops such as cowpeas, mung beans and chick peas for export to the Asian market.
Last year, the farmers exported 702 tons of different cash crops to the Asian market with an estimated value of $493,000.