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Import ban increases vegetables prices in Botswana

Staff Writer |
The food ban issued last December by the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security which banned imports of some food in Botswana has caused shortages and caused vegetable prices to rise.

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The food ban is for tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, bell peppers, melon pear and beetroot.

This came after a highly destructive insect pest known as tomato leaf miner or tuta absoluta was detected in the Bobirwa, Boteti, Chobe, North East, and North West areas.

So far the ban is threatening supplies of these basic commodities in the local retail market and pushing prices up.

A quick survey carried out by Mmegi Business on some retailers has proved that a number of basic fruits and vegetables are disappearing from supermarkets’ shelves as the effects of the import restrictions begin to manifest.

On Tuesday, fruit and vegetable suppliers, Fruit & Veg City had run out of tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, peppers and other vegetables that are needed on a daily basis.

“We have been experiencing this shortage since last month ever since we heard about the announcement of the importation ban on some vegetables,” said one store manager who declined to be identified.

Statistics from the ministry indicate that Botswana relies on imported vegetables from the neighbouring South Africa to meet the demand, as local production is lacking.

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