Before 2017, agriculture contributed approximately 2.4 percent to Botswana’s GDP.
The Ireland-based research group said the sector is the mainstay of Botswana’s rural economy, adding that World Bank data showed that 42 percent of the southern African country’s population lives in rural areas.
The data also showed that approximately 70 percent of rural households in Botswana depend on subsistence farming for their livelihood.
More than 80 percent of the income of the agricultural sector is derived from livestock, while crop production contributes slightly less than 20 percent.
“Despite continued government support for the development and modernisation of the agri-business sector, the growing of crops is still dominated by rain-fed subsistence farming carried out by farmers using traditional farming methods,” the report said.
These are characterised by the limited use of fertiliser and certified seeds, low mechanisation, limited irrigation and low productivity.
According to the report, even on commercial farms, which are mechanised and use modern inputs such as fertilisers, hybrid seeds and pesticides, the potential for greatly increased crop production is low because of the semi-arid climate, low soil fertility in most areas and recurring drought.