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International Society for Horticultural Science

Horticulture Research International

Botswana

Climate
Winds over Botswana are predominantly easterly to northeasterly, except in the south-west where the most prevailing wind is northerly. The mean monthly wind speed range between 5-10 km h-1. The year can be divided into dry winter season (May-August), rainy summer season (November-March), spring season (September-October), autumn transition or post rainy period (April). Temperatures in winter go below zero and in summer up to 38 °C. The climate of Botswana is therefore described as semi-arid to arid.

Geography
Botswana covers an area of approximately 582,000 km2 lying between latitude 18° south and 27° south and longitude 20° east and 29° east. It is completely land locked. The topography consists of a vast almost uniform plateau with an average altitude of 1000 m, although elevation ranges from 700 m in the North west and 1491 m (highest) in the South east.

Horticulture
Local production accounts for an estimated 20% of the national demand and the rest of fruits and vegetables are imported, mostly from South Africa. The main vegetables crops grown are cabbage, onions, tomatoes, spinach, and other leafy types. These are mainly grown in the open. Fruits grown include oranges, peaches, grapes ,mango and bananas. However, it is mainly citrus which is produced on commercial scale. Others like mushrooms, flowers and ornamental shrubs are also done in very few centers around the two main cities.

Distribution of Horticulture
Horticulture is characterized mainly by small scale producers with only few large scale producers. It is mostly done on the eastern part of the country where there are a few rivers (though not perennial), and also proximity to urban markets. The rest of the country has less horticultural projects due to poor rainfall, alkaline and salty underground acquifers and poor soils.

Research Thrusts
The Department of Agricultural Research under the Ministry of Agriculture has the mandate for horticultural research.

Nature of Institutes
Horticultural research is still at an infant stage, just like the sub sector itself. However, government's policy of diversification encourages horticultural development. An on going Consultancy on the National Master Plan for Agricultural Development has indicated promising prospects for horticulture, like bringing some hectares under irrigation using recycled water. At the moment the Department of Agricultural Research has the mandate for horticultural research. Some work is also on going in NGOs such as Veld Products Research and Development.

Organisations / Institutes:
Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Research (Botswana)
University of Botswana


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