The Botswana Agriculture Marketing Board (BAMB) has finally agreed to supply primary schools with sorghum after the board declined to sign a contract last month citing price escalation of sorghum grain in the global market.
Primary schools around the country went without sorghum grain last month after BAMB declined to sign a contract to supply primary schools. The shortage of sorghum resulted in pupils going to classes on empty stomach.
A dispute arose between BAMB and the Ministry of Local Government over the tender last month, which resulted in the board declining to sign a tender to supply primary schools with sorghum.
Local Government, Finance and Procurement Service, Acting Director, Dingiswayo Sukunyane, confirmed in interview that finally BAMB agreed to supply the schools with sorghum grain.
Sukunyane emphasised that BAMB only agreed to supply schools with sorghum after the Ministry of Local Government flighted a tender that was initially won by BAMB.
Sukunyane said that BAMB refused to supply the schools with sorghum last month after winning tender stating that it was not economical to supply schools with sorghum.
He explained that after BAMB declined to supply schools with sorghum the Public Procurement and Disposal Board (PPADB) advised the ministry to flight a tender for a second time.
Sukunyane stated that after they flighted a tender, the board also participated and eventually won the tender. He said that the dispute arose from the monetary terms that were attached to a tender.
He said that the board failed to supply the sorghum stating that the price of sorghum was escalating in the market because they were importing the sorghum from Australia. Sukunyane further noted that the shortage of sorghum in primary schools country wide is expected to be resolved since the board had started supplying schools.
“Since last week, BAMB started supplying sorghum in areas such as Palapye, Gaborone, Francistown and Lobatse,” added Sukunyane.
He also noted that the board is expected to supply other schools in some district in the near future.
The Deputy Minister of Local Government, Botlogile Tshireletso, admitted that primary schools had experienced shortage of food countrywide. She said that some of the food that is eaten by students, such as sugar beans, had also run out in schools countrywide.
Francistown MP, Winter Mmolotsi, has also raised complaints about shortage of food in primary schools in Francistown.