As a part of Agenda 21, a 1992 gifts for her United Nations plan for sustainable development, Botswana has chosen to focus on food security through diversification of production and improving managements of resources to encourage sustainable food production.
The government of Botswana began to subsidize farmers to encourage marc Jacobs perfume production and veld product harvesting. Veld products are mostly grasses and other plants which can survive in difficult soil. These products are usually not profitable but have recently become a commodity for NGO’s. Additionally veld products are often harvested by women thus the creation of such an industry would greatly benefit the position of women in rural areas. This intended shift in production makes desertification and biodiversity all the more important issues. Since there is so little arable land management of soil fertility is of utmost concern. The goals outlined in Agenda 21 are congruent with those established by the Convention on Biological Diversity. Studies began on the genetics of crops that were resistant to drought in efforts to bred stronger species. During the 1980’s a survey and mapping of soil was carried out. This information was used to initiate two soil programs in the early 1990’s. The first was the Soil Conservation Project funded by the government of Botswana and the second was the Range Inventory and Monitoring Project funded by the British government.
Aid from foreign powers has followed the pattern of supporting the beef and cattle industry. Cattle have been the country’s most successful agricultural industry. This is in part to the European Union’s Beef Protocol subsidizing the beef industry in Botswana. The colonial legacy has affected the country economically by developing a market-oriented economy and socially by shifting the power structure away from indigenous tribe leaders and toward a cash economy. This commercial exploitation of the fragile ecosystem has a great effect in the South Eastern Kgatleng district which is experiencing a tragedy of the commons due to unregulated cattle posts creating land conflicts. The Kalahari sandveld region also experienced land degradation due to cattle farming. Excessive water abstraction has allowed cattle to graze further into the region. Aside from the overuse of water the cattle over graze the crops and trample other crops. This allows for useless and inedible crops to take the place of the useful crops. The bare land loses topsoil through wind and erosion.