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Botswana banned fruit and vegetables from South Africa - traders are now demanding a U-turn

Earlier this year, Bostwana halted imports of certain produce from South Africa, including tomatoes, carrots, beetroot, potatoes, cabbage, lettuce, garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric, chilli peppers, butternut, watermelons, sweet peppers, green mealies, and fresh herbs.

The reason for this was to protect its local agricultural sectors, decrease its P9.2 billion (R12 billion) yearly import bill and boost horticultural competitiveness; but the little supply of produce it is now left with is being absorbed by big chains, with most farmers reserving contracts to supply them.

A short supply of fresh produce in Botswana has now left traders asking their government to allow them to get produce from South Africa and others again. Instead of closing off the borders completely, Batswana traders and representatives of small-scale traders are requesting that the government reconsiders its importation ban policy.

South Africa exports large volumes of fruit and vegetables to countries in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) region, with Bostwana making up a considerable share.


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