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A storm is brewing between the national food purchasing agency - Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) and some of the most successful agro-businessmen in the country – Pandamatenga commercial farmers over the former’s services.
The commercial farmers in the area have since pleaded with the board to improve its services. BAMB is a government organ mandated with providing a market for locally grown crops especially cereals, beans and oilseeds to ensure adequate supplies exist to customers at affordable prices.
Speaking during the Annual Chobe Agriculture Show held last week in Pandamatenga, the Chairperson of Pandamatenga Commercial Farmers Association Hermann Venter said while there has been an improvement in timely payments for farmers after their supplies by BAMB, there is still much that needs to be improved by the organization.
“Because we always aim to improve on everything we are doing, we are asking the team of BAMB to give special attention on the maintenance of the BAMB silos at Pandamatenga, because there are big back logs when delivering sorghum from time to time,” he said.
He added that although there are aware that turning around a big company such as BAMB takes time and effort, farmers should also be taken on board to help improve its service delivery. He pleaded with the BAMB management to try and speed up to resuscitate BAMB to its former glory days.
Meanwhile the Pandamatenga farmers also made a request to BAMB and the government to consider partial ban on sorghum importation. The farmers are of the view that importation of sorghum should be looked at carefully and requested that local cereal should be bought first before importing sorghum from other countries.
Speaking on behalf of the farmers, Venter said importing sorghum from other countries overlooking local producers has a detrimental effect.
Botswana produces 30 percent of its cereal demand and almost 80 percent of the national cereal comes from Pandamatenga in the Chobe District.