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Rainfall and agricultural production in Botswana

Author(s): P. Vossen

Journal: Afrika Focus
ISSN 0772-084X

Volume: 6;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 141;
Date: 1990;
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Keywords: Agricultural Planning Botswana | Crop State Monitoring | Crop Yield Forecasting | Human Nutrition | Rainfall | Semi-Arid | Time Trend

The interannual variability of traditional, rainfed agricultural production of Botswana, a country with a typical semi-arid climate, is almost completely accounted for by the quality of the rainy season. It appears that the variability of the national cattle death ratio, total plantedarea and crop yield are, for more than 95% accounted for by rainy season conditions. As a result, also the nutritional state of the population highly correlates with rainfall. Despite the severe droughts of1978179 and 1985/86, farmers were not discouraged to practice agriculture: in fact, crop production shows a significant positive time trend which becomes apparent, when the trend and the rainy season conditions are analysed in combination with each other. As part of this study, models were developed and validated for a precise and areawise agricultural rainy season quality monitoring and for national agricultural production forecasting in Botswana. One of these models could possibly also be used for the areawise assessment of risks for malnutrition of children under five years old.
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