Long before there were any signs of a war breaking out in the far flung areas of Russia and Ukraine, Batswana were already feeling the debilitating high costs of food.
Covid 19 was by far the biggest cause of drastic rise in food prices.
As we speak, the world is going through what is called food poverty.
Even the working middle class are unable to cope.
The situation is set to get worse.
For Botswana the situation goes way beyond food security.
Botswana should do everything to get back on track the country’s lofty goals of food security.
Food security is national security.
And it should always be the country’s top priority.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi deserves some credit when it comes to food security.
He tries his best.
But sadly he allows himself to be distracted from this all important topic by petty issues raised to him by people surrounding him.
On that score, we call on him to take an even deeper breath and relook at his team.
Botswana will not achieve food security unless the people surrounding the president acknowledge the importance of food security to overall national security.
Food security, we cannot emphasise strong enough should become a top national priority.
Botswana relies heavily on low and unreliable rain to get food from their crops.
They also rely on state owned meteorological services on when to plough and what to plough.
Batswana are growers mainly of grain.
Grain prices are running at record high.
The situation will only get much worse before it gets any better.
This week a major grain processor in Botswana announced that grain based food prices will be increasing almost on a weekly basis.
The processor blames the war in Ukraine.
On account of insufficient rains and also inaccurate advice from Department of Meteorology, crops have failed across Botswana.
This means there will be serious difficulties when it comes not only to food production but also food security.
Rains have been grossly unreliable.
Information received was that that there would be above average rains this year.
Except for a very few areas, rains were way below average.
The situation was worse in the northern parts of the country.
Crop failure comes in the wake of covid effects.
Covid is now followed by the effects of a war between Russia and Ukraine that threatens to suck the whole globe.
The war in Ukraine will no doubt become a big disruptor.
Major difficulties lie ahead.
And as is so often the case it is the poor that stand to lose most.
Long before the war, the poor were already suffering the net effects of inflation, which is already at its highest. Factors are conniving against the poor.
The food prices would be a shocking drag not just on living standards, especially of the already pressed populations but also on the economy.
All likelihood is that there will be a severe drought this year.
Animals are most likely to die in huge numbers.
This is over and above crop failures.