The UNDP-Government of Japan project to strengthen the resilience of households and small-scale farmers affected by drought in the Okavango District

June 5, 2024

30th April 2022 – Botswana:  There is an urgent need to address the food security crisis that Botswana is facing. Although the country has made impressive gains in its economic growth, achieving Upper Middle-Income Country (UMIC) status, in line with its ambition to become a high-income country with an export-led and knowledge-based economy, as espoused by its Vision 2036 and National Development Plan 11 (NDPII), the country is facing chronic challenges. These challenges include very high levels of poverty (with the share of the population living under the poverty line at 15%, compared with the global average of 1.5% for UMlCs) and inequality (Botswana is among the top ten most unequal countries in the world in terms of income inequality), limited economic diversification (with diamonds accounting for a quarter of GDP, over 80% of export earnings, and about a third of government revenues), high inflation, a huge import bill and growing food insecurity. Botswana is also increasingly exposed to water scarcity and climate change vulnerability (drought, flooding, etc.).

In recognition of the Botswana food security challenges and informed by the Drought and Household Food Security Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis Report 2023, the Government of Botswana in July 2023 declared the year 2022 / 2023 a severe arable drought year. The Government has thus proposed relief measures that will be implemented immediately until June 2024 through the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.

In support of the Government of Botswana’s proposed relief measures, UNDP in Botswana and the Embassy of Japan in Botswana recently launched a project to contribute to addressing the short-term needs while building resilience of the most vulnerable households and small-scale farmers in the highly affected areas of the Ngamiland region on the 30th of April 2024 at Shakawe Kgotla. The project will amongst others provide livelihood support for the people in urgent need of assistance by supplying food, climate-resistant agricultural technologies and access to water solutions to boost their socio-economy recovery. Furthermore, the project is expected to enhance resilience and sustainability of 50 small-scale farmers in the most exposed district to drought (Ngamiland) through raising awareness and knowledge on smart agricultural practices, and strengthen climate and hydrological observing and forecasting systems to enhance water management and adaptive capacity of small-scale farmers to droughts and poor water quality.

The event was graced by the attendance of Ambassador of Japan to Botswana - HE Ambassador OHMORI Setsuo and UNDP Botswana Resident Representative – Mr. Balazs Horvath.

The project is implemented in partnership with JICA Botswana Office and UNV from Japan in collaboration with Ministry of Agriculture, District Councils, Civil Society Organisations, Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport & Culture, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and it is expected to run from the 1st of March 2024 to February 28th, 2025 and is funded by the Embassy of Japan in Botswana to a tune of US$408,352