Botswana Extends Ban On South African Fruits And Vegetables

11 December 2023 – Botswana announced on Monday, December 5, 2023 that it would extend and expand restrictions on imports of some fresh produce from South Africa as it tries to become self-sufficient in food and cut its import bill. Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the import ban had slashed the country’s fresh-produce import bill by 71%. Botswana, together with Namibia, extended its end-December 2023 deadline to 2025. The number of products will double to 32, from July 2024. Among the staples impacted will be potatoes, tomatoes and onions which are among the largest commodities affected.

While it could be good news for South African consumers, as the ban could lead to cheaper products at home. Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza is looking to engage with her Botswana counterpart as the government says that this is in contravention of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) trade agreement with other southern African neighbours.

Minister Didiza’s concern is about the negative impact this will have on bilateral trade between the two countries. Minister Didiza had raised South Africa’s concerns on these restrictions and how it is in contravention of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) trade agreements, she raised this concern during the SACU Summit in July 2023. There was hope that a broader bilateral engagement will take place between agriculture and trade Ministers of two countries to try and have a better understanding on what has occasioned such move from Botswana. “We hope that the engagements will assist in resolving this challenge for the benefit of our countries and industry. “Minister Didiza said. Source: (All Africa)