Botswana (Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources) Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources hosts scientists from ILRI and ICRISAT
On the 25th to 27th of October 2022, The Botswana University of Agriculture & Natural Resources (BUAN) hosted scientists from International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) from Nairobi, Kenya.
ILRI mission is to improve food and nutritional security and to reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock. ICRISAT conducts agricultural research for rural development to equip the less privileged by making farming and agribusiness profitable in the drylands.
The initiative is supported by the Ministry of Communication, Knowledge and Technology through the Department of Research, Science and Technology. This event was the culmination of a previous visit by Botswana to Kenya in July this year. The Botswana delegation to Kenya was led by Honourable Minister Segokgo and included Permanent Secretaries from the ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and scientists from BUAN and NARDI.
These exchange visits are meant to discuss the possible opportunity for collaboration between Botswana agricultural research centres and these two international organisations. The discussions at BUAN were centred on how Botswana can improve, through research, the productivity of the main staple food resources suitable for arid conditions such as sorghum, millet, pulses and ruminant livestock.
The opportunities and benefits that could be availed by these resources in rural economies are dependent on the utilization of the crops and livestock in terms of the supply of organic manure from livestock and feedstuff from crop residues. With climate change on us, the challenges of limited nutrition at the household level and unemployment forces us to think differently and innovatively about the efficiency of production in farms. Therefore, the interaction between BUAN, NARDI and MoA scientists with visitors from Kenya was to kick start a meaningful collaboration for future national food security.
This collaboration with Botswana is not the first, in the 1980s, both ILRI as International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA) and ICRISAT worked with the Department of Agricultural Research in livestock and arable research which culminated in the release of known sorghum, millet and groundnut varieties such as Mahube, BSH1 and Phofu (Sorghum), Bontle and Legakwe (Millet) and Nakwana, Peolwane and Tsosabana (groundnuts). Currently, ILRI and Botswana have a project on One Health, involving several local stakeholders and BUAN is coordinating the project on behalf of Botswana.