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Agriculture in Botswana  

From 1966 to 2003 the agriculture sector experienced a decrease in contribution to Botswana’s GDP from 40 % to 2,5 % (Aquastat Botswana 2010). This was due to an increasing contribution from the mining industry as well as recurrent droughts and stagnation in the industry. Despite this, the agricultural sector remains a fundamental source of subsistence for much of the population with 65 % within the Limpopo River basin living on agricultural holdings and near 80 % being considered full-time farmers (LBPTC 2010).

According to the 2009 World Development Indicators, 41 % of annual freshwater withdrawals in Botswana are for agriculture (World Bank 2010). Comparatively, demand within the Limpopo River basin is less with approximately 20 % of the basin demand in Botswana from irrigation, as noted in Water Use and Allocation (LBPTC 2010).

Although the capital city of Botswana, Gaborone, is located within the Limpopo River basin, the majority of the districts of Botswana within the basin are predominantly rural, with crop and livestock production practiced widely (LBPTC 2010). In 1995, more than 80 % of households in the Botswana portion of the Limpopo River basin owned goats while greater than 50 % owned cattle.

Most operations are at a subsistence level with a few commercial endeavours situated in the Limpopo River basin (FAO 2004). Commercial farms tend to specialise in cattle production and account for 37 % of the total cereal and pulse production, however, they represent less than 1 % of all farms in Botswana (Aquastat Botswana 2010).

Future trends include larger scale commercial and intensive enterprises with smaller farm holdings due to demographic pressures (i.e. feedlots located near centres of consumption) (LBPTC 2010).

Agriculture in Lobatse, Botswana.
Source: Vogel 2010
( click to enlarge )



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