Masisi Warns of Potential Escalation of Veggies Import Ban

  • Says govt has reduced fruits and veggies import bill by 71 percent


President Mokgweetsi Masisi has warned of potential escalation of the existing ban on importation of fruits and vegetables because of the significant reductions in Botswana’s import bill that are being recorded since the ban was implemented on New Year’s Day 2022.

“The government has managed to slash the import bill for fruits and vegetables by a staggering 71 percent,” he said highlighting the drastic decrease in import expenditure that has plummeted from P247 million to P178 million per year.

Speaking at the inauguration of the P65 million Safe Pro Cold Storage facility at Jan Pierre Roos Seleka Ranch in Sherwood recently, President Masisi iterated the government’s commitment to fostering self-sufficiency among local commercial farmers.


“The initial decision to impose restrictions on certain fruits and vegetables aimed to empower local farmers, transforming Botswana’s self-sufficiency from a mere 10 percent to an impressive 75 percent within a short timeframe,” he said.

Despite shortages in the market and other challenges emanating from the ban, the President disclosed that the government is considering broadening the list of items banned for importation mainly from neighbouring South Africa.

Extension of the ban has not been without friction in the past. The existing one was recently extended and will remain in force until December 2025 inspite of South Africa’s failed attempts at dialogue.

At one stage, South Africa’s Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, also sought discussions with Botswana to address the ban but failed.