Botswana’s national agricultural system differs from systems in many other African countries in several key ways. First, its funding level increased by nearly two-thirds in the 1990s given the 15 percent yearly increase in DAR’s budget, largely for the establishment of three regional stations. Second, the level of donor funding throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s was very low. Third, Botswana has an extremely high research intensity level—not uncommon for a country with a small population and high per capita income. Finally, Botswana ranks high for the region in terms of the share of female research staff and the ratio support-staff per scientist.
On the negative side, the constraining factor for DAR is difficulty in attracting and keeping well-qualified staff because of low government-sector salary levels. As a result, the department has a large number of vacancies, and the number of researchers with PhD degrees dropped by almost half during the 1990s. Another area of concern, given the minimum MSc requirement for new recruits at DAR, is the absence of MSc training at BCA and the lack of 2003 government funding for MSc training outside the country. Another area of concern is the significant reduction in donor funding to enhance training of young scientists. Currently most of the training is done through limited government funding and this has significantly affected the number of researchers that DAR can send for training at any one time. If this situation continues it will no doubt further affect DAR’s staffing levels.