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Botswana spends over half-a-billion on food imports

COSTLY: Imported food

Botswana spent P675 million on food in July, which represents 11 percent of the country’s total imports for the month.

Figures from the data collecting agency Statistics Botswana indicate the most imported food item was cereals at a cost of P129.5 million or 19.2 percent of total food imports.

Breaking the numbers down further, the most imported cereals for the month was maize corn at 42.3 percent, followed by wheat and rice at 35.8 percent and 21.1 percent respectively.

The second most imported food category was sugars and sugar confectionery at a cost of P69.9 million, representing 10.3 percent of the total grub imported in July.

Following closely behind in third were beverages, spirits and vinegar, which accounted for P69.3 million of food imports.

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The most imported beverage was fermented beverages – including cider – at 26.2 percent, followed by non-alcoholic beverages at 20.3 percent.

The value of the fermented beverages stood at P18.3 million while the country splashed out P14.1 million on non-alcoholic beverages.

Beer made from malt and spirits were imported at a cost of P8.7 million and P6.5 million respectively.

Meat and edible meat offal accounted for P11.9 million of food imports for the month of July with the least imported food group being gums, resins, and other vegetable saps and extracts at a cost of P39, 000.

Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) classifies the country as a Net Food Importing Developing Country (NFIDC) with vast investment opportunities to increase domestic production for basic stuff, mainly cereal whose national demand stands at 200, 000 tons per year.

Only 17 percent of this amount is said to be produced locally.

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During the month of July, the total value of imports stood at P5.9 billion, which is slightly above the monthly average in recent years.

Since 2005, Botswana has spent an average of P5.1 billion a month on imports, setting an all-time high of P9.1 billion in September 2008 and a record low of P1.3 billion in April this year when lockdown first hit.

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