Numerous fresh produce players are furious and have expressed concern over how fresh produce rejects disallowed from international markets are seemingly finding their way into Botswana. A coterie of fresh produce players who spoke to this publication indicated that they are in discussions with local supermarkets and producers to make certain that what is sold in these local markets meets the domestic and international standards.
Tshepho Tekanyo, who is one of the local fresh produce players said “going forward, the consortium will be working towards harmonising the international and domestic standards for fresh produce so that only high quality staff is consumed in the country.”
He also said that they made a conspicuous discovery that some of the local produce currently on the market are products that have been barred from the international market. “Our objective is to make sure that whatever fresh produce is available on the local market meets the required domestic and international standards for consumption,” he said.
Amongst other things, he said the fresh produce sector is facing numerous problems such as poor information flow, inadequate cooling facilities, meagre compliance to food safety requirements and high costs of production. “I praise the resilience of the fresh produce sector although collecting data on what is traded locally is still something that has not been resolved,” he said.
He also said they are currently concentrating on ensuring that the fresh produce sector has appropriate representation. “If we harbour any ambitions of growing the production capacity and earnings of this sector, then it is imperative that we push for capacity building, trade and lobbying for better freight prices. What is needed is for us to unite and negotiate for better prices with the freight providers,” he said.