Botswana announces measures to combat drought

Botswana decided to implement measures to cushion the country from a looming drought after President Mokgweetsi Masisi declared the year 2018-2019 a drought year.

Botswana President Mokgweetsi MasisiMasisi was informed about the situation by a report on the drought and household food supply assessment and analysis.

Boipolelo Khumomatlhare, head of the country’s Rural Development Ministry, said the relief measures will start from July 1 this year to June 30, 2020.

The measures include restocking the strategic grain reserve, increasing current livestock drought subsidy for feeds, vaccines and drugs, and expanding the coverage of the subsidy.

Khumomatlhare said the finance ministry also plans to pay 85 percent of seasonal loans that farmers obtained from various financial institutions.

In addition, the government intends to continue providing direct feeding in health facilities and to introduce a special “food basket” to children in certain districts.

The southern African country is experiencing the drought after the 2018-2019 rainy season was characterized by uneven distribution of rains, heat waves and dry spells, leading to smaller planted areas and crop failures.

Last year, Botswanan authority warned that hundreds of thousands of livestock and people were left vulnerable to the impacts of climate change-induced drought that hit the country between 2014 and 2017.