Cape Town – The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, has expressed concern over the recent restrictions imposed by Botswana on food imports.
According to reports, Botswana has extended its restrictions on certain fresh produce imports until July 2025, aiming to achieve self-sufficiency in food production.
During last month’s state of the nation address, President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana highlighted that the import ban had significantly reduced the country’s fresh-produce import expenses by 71%.
Prior to the ban, South Africa supplied almost 80% of Botswana’s food.
According to The Citizen, Didiza expressed concerns about the impact on bilateral trade and plans to meet her Botswana counterpart.
The move has sparked tensions, with South Africa recently facing complaints about agricultural regulations affecting exports to the EU and UK, the report said.
Didiza plans to urgently meet with Botswana officials to address the issue and hopes that bilateral engagements between the agriculture and trade ministers of the two countries will help resolve the challenges posed by the restrictions, EWN reported.
“Minister Didiza has raised South Africa’s concerns on the restriction during the SACU Summit in July 2023 in Swaziland. There was hope that the broader bilateral engagement would take place between the agriculture and trade ministers of two countries to try and have a better understanding of what has occurred in such a move from Botswana. Minister Didiza says she hopes the engagements will assist in resolving these challenges for the benefit of our country and industry,”the report quoted the minister’s spokesperson, Reggie Ngcobo as saying.
Compiled by Betha Madhomu