Good Rains Spikes Cereal Production Forecast Well Above Average

Malebogo Ratladi
With the harvest season approaching Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that
aggregate cereal production being sorghum, maize and millet in Botswana is forecast at 66 000
tones, about 40 percent above the five-year average.
Botswana experienced big rains for this year’s ploughing season, for this, FAO reported that the
favorable rainfall benefited vegetation conditions in rangelands across the country. It was a good
year for ploughing, the production outlook mainly reflected an expansion in the planted area and
expectations of above average yields owing to generally conducive rainfall from last year into
this year.
In 2019 the forecast was 8 tonnes, which was about 82 percent below the previous five-year
average. For that period the principal factor for the significant decrease was the extreme rainfall
deficits that adversely affected the harvested area and yields of the 2019 summer crops. The dry
conditions also had a negative impact on the livestock sector and caused a significant decrease in
the availability and quality of grasslands, causing a worsening of livestock body conditions and
increasing mortality rates. The FAO Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS)
report for that year the harvest season was in June unlike for this year which people have started
to harvest.
However, GIEWS anticipates that Botswana’s cereal import will remain at an above average
level, but will decline on a yearly basis because of the large harvest that will take place this year.
Botswana has been a net importer of cereals with more than 90 percent of the domestic
requirements. An estimate of the import of cereal in 2020 was 465 00 in tonnes.
Even through things are looking up this in terms of Botswana now promising to be food secure,
food insecurity persists among people, but this is due to the adverse impacts of the Covid-19
pandemic resulting from income reductions as the national economy went into a sharp recession
in 2020.