Serowe — The depressing COVID-19 pandemic, that created financial woes for many, has not discouraged Mr Edward Rantshu a farmer in Xhobatjenaa cattle post.
Mr Rantshu, who hails from Mogorosi in the central district is determined to produce enough food to sell countrywide.
The 48-year-old said after he retired from Botswana Police Services, he ventured into business where he supplied residents of Thabala and Mogorosi with government food parcels.
The profits from that business enabled him to buy a 6km by 6km farm in Xhobatjenaa lands to pursue farming as it has been his passion.
Although things are not where he wished, Mr Rantshu said he was determined to ensure that his dream of producing and supplying the country with agricultural products, came true.
His farm houses a variety of animals such as cattle, goats, sheep, duck, turkey, guinea fowl, chicken (Tswana, boschveld, light Sussex and others) and his latest addition, 12 large white pigs.
Mr Rantshu got most of his livestock from battering where he would exchange a goat for a guinea fowl or ducks for a pig.
He also ploughs with his main focus being on root vegetables such as potatoes, pumpkins, groundnuts and peanuts.
Mr Rantshu said his 12 pigs were his pride as they were going to open doors for him in the pig rearing business.
His 2 pigs Bruce (male) and Sadi (female), which he got from another farmer in Palapye, produced 10 piglets from their first birth and he is expecting another litter in May this year.
The promising farmer said this will give him a push into pork production, which he said was not prominent in the country despite having market.
He intends to build a sty with expectation for more pigs in future.
The farmer said he injects and deworms them once in a while.
Eddy, as Mr Rantshu is popularly known, said his business was hindered by some challenges such as the unavailability of water in his surrounding for his plants and livestock, predators and lack of financial support from the government, especially in pig farming.
He received assistance from the LIMID programme which helped him with part of the money for drilling a borehole though he still does not have water in his farm due to some delays in the programme.
Mr Rantshu expressed his gratitude towards the President for the supporting small livestock farmers and wished for him to visit their farms, with the hope that such would aid them to get financial aid.
He hailed government agricultural schemes such as LIMID, adding that they were great initiatives capable of enhancing the lives of Batswana and consequently improve food security as well as self-sufficiency in the country.
Mr Rantshu said although most of his food productions had not taken off ground, he was confident that by the end of this year he would be selling pork and his root vegetables would be in the market.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>