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The role of public relations in the agricultural environment in Botswana


Mpho Chaka, Department of Communication, Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, North West University, Mafikeng, South Africa.



This article examines the practice of public relations (hereafter referred to as ‘PR’) in the agricultural environment and agricultural institutions in Botswana that fall under the umbrella of the Ministry of Agriculture in Botswana. The article (i) examines the manner in which PR is practiced; (ii) its major constraints: problems such as lack of professionally qualified manpower, lack of understanding and confusion of what PR entails; (iii) how PR should be practiced; and what (iv) PR should intend to achieve. Within the agricultural environment in Botswana, PR is still viewed as a publicity and information dissemination tool. There is no planning and research as the public relations practitioners are merely informed what to do. As these practitioners are not professionally trained, they do not question these orders as they themselves do not know what it is that they are supposed to execute. Even though PR in Botswana seems to be generally stagnating in the information age, it is a growing profession in many of the organisations in Botswana. If practiced properly, PR can be an effective tool necessary to coordinate communication and create transparency in organisations and society, particularly in a democratic country like Botswana. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.