- Country has no maize in its reserves
- BAMB contracted by Gov’t to manage its SGR for national food security purposes
The Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB), a parastatal mandated with managing Government’s Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) for the purposes of ensuring that the national food security is in good standing, has indicated that the country has no maize in the SGR, against the required 30, 000 metric tonne (Mt) of maize.
When addressing members of the media recently, BAMB Chief Executive Officer, Leonard Morakaladi said for adherence, the SGR must have atleast a minimum of 5, 000 Mt of maize grain.
Government’s SGR at full capacity, should stand at a total of 70, 000 Mt, comprising of 30, 000 Mt of sorghum, 30, 000 Mt of maize and 10, 000 Mt of beans. It currently stands at 30, 000 Mt of sorghum, 2, 000 Mt of beans and no quantities of maize.
However, the CEO said the Board is receiving new stock and they should have a clear picture of how much they have received by the end of August this year. They expect to have 12, 000 Mt of maize, 35, 000 Mt of red sorghum and 7, 500 Mt of cowpeas.
“BAMB has been managing and maintaining the government SGR for more than twenty years. SGR can be in the form of physical grain or in monetary terms. For rotation basis, we sell off SGR stock into commercial stock and replenish with new stock to have good grain in stock for human consumption,” said the Morakaladi.
Botswana’s demand for maize is between 180, 000 – 190, 000 tonnes, but the country produces only 20, 000 tonnes (both white and yellow maize) on a good year. Maize production, according to Morakaladi, is hampered by unfavourable weather conditions, and in addition, its production in the Pandamatenga area is not viable because of the soil type in the area, which is more favourable for sorghum production.
To improve the maize production, government is now looking into other areas around the country, such as Dukwi, to start production, and is also looking at spending P96 million for extra storage facilities (for all grains) in the Dukwi and Mokgomane areas.
The CEO concluded by highlighting that there is still a lot of scope for production in the country, and this can reduce the import bill. He noted that though the country spends a lot of money importing grains from other countries, the country also exports. Currently, Botswana exports sorghum to South Africa (last imported sorghum 3-4 years ago), and is exporting cowpeas to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and South Africa. BAMB says it is in negotiations with the United Arab Emirates, to export the same, to the Western Asia country.