Food Systems under Stress (FSUS) Project: Country Profile: Botswana
The Botswana FSUS Team
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Botswana, with a total land area of 582,000 km2, is landlocked sharing borders with the Republic of South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Much of Botswana has been described as "flat with gentle undulations and occasional rocky outcrops". The thick and sandy layers of the Kgalagadi desert cover more than two-thirds of the country. Botswana is situated close to the subtropical high pressure belt of the Southern hemisphere. The country is as a result largely arid or semi-arid. The mean annual rainfall ranges from 650 mm in the extreme north-east to less than 250 mm in the extreme south west. The country's main natural resources are range and arable, wildlife, and minerals especially diamonds. Arable land covers only 5 per cent of Botswana's land area with the best arable land occurring in the east, in the freehold farming areas. However, unreliable rainfall has made arable agriculture a risky business. Extensive beef production occurs in the country since a good size of Botswana's land is suitable for cattle ranching purposes (MFDP, 1991, pp.3 and 5).