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    Agro-infrastructure project helps Botswana cut import: Official

    GABORONE (Xinhua) – A local agro-infrastructure project is expected to enormously cut Botswana’s import bill, Deputy Secretary of the Minister of Agriculture Leslie Botshoma said last Saturday.

    The project planned to be completed by the end of September in Pandamatenga, some 910km northwest of the capital Gaborone, is intended to develop the local water control and drainage system as well as access to road network.

    The official added that the Botswana government decided to carry out the infrastructure project partly to ensure that a significant amount of the import bill is utilised locally.

    “The aim was to ensure good and successful production and eventually cut the import bill by half,” said Botshoma when addressing local farmers during an inspection tour to assess the progress of the project, which is funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and was approved in 2009.

    Under the project, Botshoma said some 270 kilometres of tarred and gravel roads have been built in addition to the 370km-long drains. Botswana’s import bill is currently estimated at USD800 million, said Botshoma.

    Chairperson of the Pandamatenga Commercial Farmers Association Herman Venter said due to the project, there had been for a period where farms were not water logged.

    “Water logging was so extreme at Pandamatenga Farms due to poor drainage system.”

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