The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), Thoko Didiza, has raised concern over Botswana’s extension on import restrictions and is seeking an urgent meeting with her counterpart in Gaborone to discuss the decision.
“We hope the engagements will assist in resolving this challenge for the benefit of our countries and industry,” she said.
On Tuesday it was reported that neighbouring Botswana said it would extend and expand restrictions on the import of fresh produce as it tries to become food self-sufficient and cut its import bill.
The ban on imports of tomatoes, potatoes, onions and other produce – which has angered farmers in South Africa and was due to expire at the end of December – will now run until the end of 2025, Botswana’s agriculture ministry said.
The DALRRD said Didiza’s concern was about the negative impact the continued ban would have on bilateral trade.
“The minister will seek an urgent meeting with her counterpart (Fidelis Molao) to raise her concerns and further listen to her colleague on what may be the underlying concerns that have made Botswana take this move,” department spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo said.
Didiza has previously raised South Africa's concerns on the restrictions during the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) summit in July. – Source: IOL