FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) Francistown general manager, Unami Baeletsi has criticised farmers of selling them imported farm produce.
Baeletsi expressed concern during their recent general meeting with members of Tonota, Tutume and Masunga (TOTUMA) Arable and Commercial Farmers Association at the Francistown Regional Agricultural offices. Addressing TOTUMA members, Baeletsi said they suspect that some farmers import produce such as beans and maize from Zambia and Zimbabwe and then sell it to their organisation.
“In the 2016/2017 ploughing season, we suspected that some farmers exported beans and maize which they claimed it was part of their yield and tried to sell to our organisation,” Baeletsi said.
She said following their suspicions, they contacted the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) and crop productions department officers for verification and to their surprise they found out that indeed it was true. The BAMB Francistown regional manager said consequently they have introduced a system where farmers will
“If you don’t give us confirmation about crops planted in your field from crop production offices, we are not going to assist you at BAMB,”she said. Baeletsi urged farmers to stop selling imported commodities to BAMB, but rather focus on producing quality goods so that they can be competitive. The Association’s chairperson, Priscilla Monthe was shocked about Baeletsi’s revelation.
She told The Monitor that she was not aware that some farmers imported beans and maize from neighbouring countries and sold it to BAMB. Monthe said that activity has the potential to destroy the local agricultural sector adding that the government should put strict measures to stop it. She said that she does not expect members of their association to partake in such awful acts.