Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) is looking for suppliers of sorghum outside the country because only a month’s supply of the staple grain remains in its reserves.
This comes at a time when retail food prices are rising and prices for wheat-based products are likely to go beyond the 40 percent mark registered recently.
“We currently have 5 000 metric tons in our strategic reserves and are looking for sources of the product internationally,” the Public Relations and Marketing Manager at BAMB, Adelaide Johnson, told The Botswana Gazette this week.
She said the Russian military operation in Ukraine is affecting global food supply chains and prices. “Most food processing companies in Botswana buy wheat as raw material and the rise in wheat prices will hit them directly, it may discourage them to source the same,“ said Johnson.
She expressed fears of a price rise for critical commodities like fuel having a domino effect across the global economy when countries were just emerging from the impact of COVID-19.
The Chairman of Botswana Millers Association, Christo Ellis, has corroborated Johnson’s views, saying the war in Ukraine has disrupted supply chains and increased anxiety around the world.
”Local millers are doing their utmost to absorb these costs but it will be impossible to avoid price corrections for finished goods,” Ellis said in a recent press release in which he also appealed to consumers to always buy locally produced goods so as to protect jobs and livelihoods.
But Botswana’s largest maize and wheat milling company, Bolux Milling, has dismissed claims that it is increasing prices and says a press release circulating on social media to that effect is false. The company’s Customer Service and Marketing Manager, Boitshepo David, told The Botswana Gazette that Bolux would direct communication of any price increases to retailers as their clients.
Meanwhile, Johnson says BAMB recently met with several grain off-takers at the Dubai Global Expo for products like mung beans and processed sorghum. “We also identified suppliers of different farming inputs that can help our farmers to improve their crop yields without necessarily increasing their input costs,” Johnson said.
In addition to hosting a Botswana Agricultural Business Breakfast and an Invest in Botswana Agri-Business seminar at the Dubai Global Expo, BAMB also participated in business forums and one-on-one meetings with executives of several companies.