PEI’s Poverty and Social Impact Analysis informs Agricultural Development in Botswana

[November] PEI Botswana has completed a Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) of the Government of Botswana’s Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agriculture Development (ISPAAD). The programme was introduced by the Government in 2008 to address the challenges facing rain-fed arable farming and aims to improve the low productivity levels in the arable sub-sector thereby reducing poverty and commercialising arable agriculture. Two important components of the ISPAAD programme are a ploughing subsidy and the distribution of free seeds to farmers. The PSIA has indicated that the strategy of free seed distribution has resulted in sub-optimal use of Government resources as certain seeds including maize have been used in areas where other types of seeds would have generated better yields particularly considering existing climatic conditions, size of arable holdings and available skills and resources. Informed, in part, by the findings of the study, the programme will be modified to ensure that farmers access the right type of seeds as per the agro-ecological zones. This is likely to enhance overall arable productivity and effectiveness of the ISPAAD programme and further contribute to rural poverty alleviation and the government of Botswana’s pursuance of food security.

The ISPAAD report is expected to be ready for distribution by the first quarter of 2013. The final report along with shorter policy briefs will further be used to inform development planning and policy making in Botswana.

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