* Over 105 000 farmers have been registered, 83 000 have verified fields * MoA has 257 Extension Officers with each officer overseeing at least 500 farmers

The Ministry of Agriculture has disbursed over P45 million to both seed and tractor suppliers under the newly-launched Temo Letlotlo programme, which incentivises productivity output in agriculture with the primary objective of enhancing food security in Botswana.

Minister of Agriculture, Fidelis Molao informed legislators this week that a sum of 37, 376 farmers have received e-vouchers and are presently purchasing seeds and tillage services, encompassing an area of 129, 644 hectares

valued at P320, 444, 567.80.

Payments to service providers offering assistance to farmers through grants are currently underway.

Molao told legislators that although Temo Letlotlo is progressing well, it still encounters challenges during its implementation phase.

For instance, farmers practising molapo farming in Chobe and Okavango Districts had to rely on their own resources to secure draught power services as the programme's inputs were not yet accessible at the commencement of the ploughing season in August.

Additionally, there has been a slow uptake of fertiliser in Mahalapye, Palapye, and Serowe Districts due to farmers' scepticism about its use, prompting ongoing public campaigns in these areas.

Molao described Temo Letlotlo as an Agro-ecological programme centred around productivity-output-based rewards, aiming to enhance food security in Botswana.

It operates as a transformative, multi-sectoral initiative involving various ministries, state-owned enterprises, and the private sector. The programme is automated to facilitate efficient data collection and management for informed decision-making.

Government involvement primarily focuses on planning, regulation, promotion, and coordination to foster a conducive business environment in the agricultural sector, with implementation monitoring employing a multi-sectoral approach.

Temo Letlotlo comprises two main components: Household Food Security and National Food Security. The first offers a 100 percent subsidy to micro-scale farmers with no wage or monthly income up to P4 000, aimed at meeting their household food security needs.

The second targets individual small-scale, medium-scale, and large-scale farmers, groups, and clusters, providing seasonal loans through the National Development Bank (NDB) for the purchase of inputs.

Farmers acquiring these loans are required to purchase weather-based Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS) insurance to mitigate crop loss risks.

The National Food Security component focuses on producing grains on a commercial basis for domestic consumption and potential export.

Moreover, Temo Letlotlo promotes crop diversification, climate-smart technologies, and the establishment of local seed repositories to enhance resilience against climate uncertainties.

Enhancements under the programme include subsidies for fencing, tractors, and implements, alongside improved extension services to support farmers' progression across different categories.

Molao said since its unveiling in October 2023 by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi in Kanye, Temo Letlotlo has been implemented with involvement from various stakeholders.

The Ministry has been tasked with registering farmers and service providers in the Crop Management System (CMS), with significant progress noted in registration figures.

Despite challenges posed by unfavourable weather conditions, efforts to facilitate transactions and engagements with stakeholders have been ongoing.

Molao said efforts to bolster extension services include hiring additional Extension Officers and outsourcing services to the private sector.

Furthermore, initiatives such as workshops and stakeholder engagements aim to ensure alignment and effective implementation of the programme across all value chain players. Molao said while facing challenges, Temo

Letlotlo remains steadfast in its goal of enhancing food security in Botswana through innovative approaches, stakeholder collaboration, and ongoing adaptation to prevailing conditions.