Botswana adopts revised research policy
By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana
The Botswana parliament has unanimously adopted the Revised National Policy on Research, Science Technology and Innovation 2011 which was recently presented to parliament by the Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology Johnie Swartz.
A number of MPs supported the instrument by some felt that much needed to be done in terms of research techniques as the country lagged behind when it came to matters pertaining to research. In the same context, the Minister of Local Government, Peter Siele said people who farm near rivers should be assisted through research.
Siele added that countries like Australia whose climate is the same as that of Botswana produces higher sorghum yields than Gaborone, courtesy of research. Another MP Philip Khwae suggested that Botswana College of Agriculture be moved to Banyana Farms, saying that it occupies too much space which could be used for residential purposes.
The MP for Boteti, Slumber Tsogwane, said the cost of the research was high adding that it was imperative for government to assist innovative minds and pay them better salaries. He also complained that research findings in the country are not implemented.
However, Shoshong MP Philip Makgalemele supported the policy but had reservations about its strength. Makgalemele continued that NGOs have invested a lot in terms of research and appealed to Swartz to take some of NGOs on board and also challenged how Swartz intends to collaborate with some of these NGOs.