Is the vegetable ban bearing fruit?

In demand: The January 2022 ban on 16 vegetables has caused price escalations
In demand: The January 2022 ban on 16 vegetables has caused price escalations

It is slightly over five months since the Government of Botswana through the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security imposed an import ban on certain vegetables.

The ban which came into effect on 1 January 2022 targeted 16 vegetables such as onions, butternut, tomatoes, watermelons, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, and ginger. The ban is intended to support local farmers, increase national food security by encouraging local vegetable production, improve horticulture competitiveness, alleviate climate change effects, develop the agriculture value chain and foster citizen empowerment.

The key catalysts for this ban included the country’s high vegetable import bill (for instance, from January to October in 2021 the vegetable import bill for the 16 banned vegetables was approximated at P201 million), supply bottlenecks emanating from COVID-19 related international supply chain interruptions, and the lobbying efforts by local farmers who decried the preference of imported vegetables, mostly from South Africa, by local retailers over their local produce.

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