“Botswana is Unshakeable on Morogo Import Ban”

  • South African farmers want ban reversed
  • Minister says ban was given the greenlight by SACU and SA govt
  • Agri-SA says ban has put SA farmers in a “precarious position”


Botswana will not bow to any pressure from South African farmer’s platform, Agri-SA, to lift the ban on importation of fresh fruits and vegetables from the neighbouring country because contrary to the organisation says, the move was given the greenlight by South African Customs Union (SACU), the Assistant Minister of Investment and Trade, Molebatsi Molebatsi, has said.

This comes after Agri-SA mounted pressure on the South African government to request Botswana to lift the ban, alleging that it violates the SACU agreement.

SA farmers in a precarious situation
In the letter to South Africa’s minister responsible for agriculture, Thoko Didiza, Agri-SA requested the government to intervene urgently to reverse the ban.

“It is disappointing that intra-regional restrictions have put South African farmers in this precarious position when the purpose of SACU is to foster open trade within the union,” the Executive Director of Agri-SA, Christo van der Rheede, was quoted by the South African media as saying.

“What is more likely is that farmers may decrease the vegetable production, a move that will hurt export revenue and lead to job losses in the sector.”

Minister Molebatsi told The Botswana Gazette this week that the government is not going to be flexible on the ban lifting the ban because the SACU agreement was taken into consideration before the decision was made.

“Contrary to Agri-SA, consultations were made between the two countries and SACU prior to the decision being made,” he said. “The South African government did not have any problems with the development because they understood the reasons advanced by our government.”

“Besides that, it is worth noting that the ban did not stop the vegetable trade completely because we still allow importation of processed ones.”

In addition, the two governments have created a platform where they constantly engage on new developments concerning the ban, the junior minister added.

Botswana imposed the ban on importation of fruits and vegetables from South Africa last year as a protectionist measure and to encourage food sufficiency.