On 14th-16th January 2016 the Minister of Agriculture Honorable Patrick Pule Ralotsia participated at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) 2016 in Berlin, Germany. The 2016 Theme for the forum was How to feed our cities? – Agriculture and rural areas in an era of urbanization.

As part of the GFFA programme, Honorable Minister Ralotsia participated at the 8th International Agricultural Ministers’ Summit which was attended by at least 65 Ministers of Agriculture including 14 African countries. The Summit adopted a communique that outlined the decisions reached focussing on addressing three challenges of:

a) Productive and sustainable agriculture.
b) Efficient and reliable supply and value chains: in order to connect urban demand with rural supply.
c) Vibrant rural areas: rural areas must be made attractive places to live and work in. The Summit further emphasised that food security is a prerequisite for political and social stability and crucial for planning and managing the urbanisation process successfully.

Delivering his statement Honourable Minister Ralotsia highlighted the rapid urbanization that Botswana is experiencing and consequently the need to increase her agriculture production to become self-sufficient. The Government of Botswana has increased investment into the agriculture sector and has several support schemes to promote increased production, including the establishment of the National Agricultural Research and Development Institute.

The Minister further visited Agrargenossenschaft Ranzig, a Farming Cooperative in Ranzig, Brandenburg in order to get an insight into the daily operation of a cooperative farm in Germany. The cooperative model is of interest to Botswana as it can give the individual smaller farmers the possibility of increasing their production, while sharing the operational costs and reinvesting some of the profit.