Botswana Agricultural Project Failing to Keep on Schedule
Project implementation, which has eluded government departments for time immemorial, has reared its ugly head at the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) where millions of public funds will be lost due to failure to deliver the Agricultural Services Support Projects on time. The five-year multi-million pula Agricultural Services Support Project (ASSP) established in 2012 to support smallholder agricultural production, is doomed for failure with only seven months left before completion, The Patriot on Sunday has learnt. Currently most of the components of the project are running behind schedule, four years after ASSP was rolled out. The project budget for the entire five year period is USD 25,022 million (P250m), which comprises of a loan, a grant and contribution from government of Botswana.
The budget for the final year of the project, ending on 30th March 2017, is P56 million. International Fund for Agriculture and Development (IFAD) is the international partner in ASSP and play both an advisory role and provision of funding to the project. At the current rate ASSP is set to fail on its primary goal of "contributing towards economic diversification, reduction of rural poverty, food security and improved livelihoods of rural communities". The projects has been facing challenges due to slow technologies adoption rate, limited resources to roll out the ASSP activities fully at district level and high staff turnover. ASSP currently has 10 staff members.