Gov’t admits to potato, tomato shortages

Potatoes and Tomatoes
Potatoes and Tomatoes

Government has acknowledged that there is a shortage of potatoes and tomatoes in the country because they are seasonal crops. Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Molebatsi Molebatsi said the shortage is experienced especially during seasons where the harvest is low. “In January, February and part of March, we are experiencing more shortage of these vegetables and it was the same situation last year.

It’s not like this shortage was not there before the ban. Potatoe shortage gase botlhodi,” he told Parliament yesterday. Molebatsi was responding to a question from Francistown West legislator, Ignatius Moswaane who had asked the Minister of Agriculture to state whether he is aware that there is shortage of certain vegetables in Botswana such as potatoes and tomatoes. In response, Molebatsi said they know that this shortage affects many people especially businesses as they depend on the sale of these vegetables for survival. He said they have realised that whenever there is a shortage there are those who find a way to smuggle these vegetables into the country. “Because the local production would be low, in the past people used to stockpile in order to take advantage of the situation by hiking prices,” he added. On what they are doing to increase production levels across all seasons, Molebatsi said they encourage farmers to plant during different times of the year. According to the junior minister, the country has potato farmers in Gantsi, Pandamatenga and the Tuli Block and they have agreed that each should plant during different periods.

He said they want each producer to practise crop planning and also harvest at different times. Molebatsi pointed out that farmers should approach the ministry in order to export their produce to other countries. On what they are doing to cushion traders during the time when there are shortages, Molebatsi said they have advised farmers to consider installing special storages for where potatoes could be kept for four up to six months. He said that way the nation can be fed the entire year without any gap. A farmer in Tuli Block has already started the establishment of such storage, Molebatsi told legislators. For his part, Moswaane said he is not against the vegetable importation ban but the main issue is that every business thrives on monthly or consistent profits. “If that business is closed for three months how do they pay salaries and bills like rent? Don’t you realise that this decision is collapsing local businesses and drowning Batswana in debts? Do you realise that people end up in prison with some losing their properties and valuables,” he asked the assistant minister.

Editor's Comment
Parents should be more proactive in children’s lives

Parents need to pay particular attention to their children to ensure they grow up in a healthy environment that supports their development and mental health. Healthy attachments between parents and children foster strong bonds, creating a solid foundation for future leaders.In many African cultures, there is a common perception that parents should use a stick to discipline naughty children. While disciplining children is important, it is equally...

Have a Story? Send Us a tip
arrow up