The government of Botswana has announced plans to expand list on banned vegetable imports over the next two years.
The country’s minister of agriculture Fidelis Molao said the import ban, which kicked in on 1 January, is imperative to supporting farmers in Botswana and fostering agricultural independence, MmegiOnline.
The list of banned commodities includes tomatoes, carrots, beetroot, potatoes, cabbage, lettuce, garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric, chilli peppers, butternut, watermelons, sweet peppers, green mealies and fresh herbs.
He added that Botswana’s yearly spending of N$12 billion on food imports was a major concern for the nation, and the country needed the policy to make it more self-sufficient and protect and support local farmers.
When the long-term ban was announced in December, the country said it planned to review it every two years. Molao said the ban would be reviewed only to expand the list of restricted vegetables and not to loosen it.
“The import restrictions on vegetables from South Africa and other import countries would encourage local retailers to source vegetables from local farmers. Botswana’s move is in line with its ambition to increase its horticultural competitiveness and boost vegetable production in the country. It would help it mitigate climate change effects and ensure good agricultural practices. We need, as a country, to get the foodstuffs we need from our farms rather than relying on other countries. We need to link local communities to plant and plough to build our food independence,” he said.