Business Slow for Small Farmers

| May 5, 2015

With the looming drought, business is rather slow for many Batswana farmers selling sweet reed and water melons in Gaborone along the A1 Road.

During this time of year, most farm produce traders are always by the roadside selling sweet reeds, water melons, millet and groundnuts, among others, to make ends meet.

During good times, the farmers, who mostly get their supply from their own fields, are usually all over the road sides each selling different farm produce leaving streets littered with leftovers to reveal that harvest time is here.

But this time around, it is clear that there is poor harvest caused by little the rains and the streets are free and clean from sweet reeds shredding and groundnuts and ditoo wraps.

Looking around, it is rare to get natural or home water melon, and most people who are by the road side sell imported farm products from neighbouring South Africa.

The farm products they sell like water melons are large and mostly expensive ranging from P30 to P45. In an interview with some of the sellers, they said business was rather slow they complained that there would be nothing much to take home since nothing tangible came from the fields.

Mr Kgomoesele Makgwelo, who sell water melons opposite Pula Spar, admitted that the scorching sun that hit the country even during and after the ploughing season, burnt all their crops and they are left with nothing much.

Mr Makgwelo said all the crops were burnt and he was left with a few water melons since they were drought resistant. He said he had ploughed four hectors of water melons and other burnt crops through the government scheme.

He stated that he anticipates low income as compared to the previous years for instance, he can only make P500 per day by selling water melons between P10 and P20.He said he had been selling on the spot for the past five years with other farmers, but this year he is all by himself.

“But it is better to be here because at least I am able to get money to take home to my family,” he said, adding that otherwise on a fruitful year he makes a lot of money.

Mr Makgwelo pointed out that despite the lack of proper rains, he is still determined to continue ploughing and that he is hopeful to gather a lot from the fields, saying it is his way of life.

“Some days I make money and on other days I don’t sell anything and thus I go home with no money,” said another seller, Ms Seoketso Zulu of Tswapong who sells by Mogoditshane road.

Ms Zulu stated that a single sweet reed ranges between P1.00 and P3. 00, depending on its thickness and length water melons cost between P8.00 and P20.00, while makgomane mostly sell between P1.00 and P2.00.

She said she has been on the site for more than ten years and she has resorted to selling farm produce bought from her home village and South Africa, and she been able to sustain her family.

“I am working very hard because I want to send money home, but considering that the rain is scarce, the little I send them would mean so much,” Ms Zulu said.

“She said she sells water melons depending on the size maize sells at P7.00 and if it is cooked or roasted it goes for P8.00.She pointed out that selling by the busy road side has an aantage on her business since she gets most of her customers from the road users.

“People think we are not important because we sell along the road, but it is better to work with my hands than to sit at home doing nothing,” said Ms Zulu.

She said sometimes she is challenged by lack of customers especially for sweet melons, adding that sweet melons do not have a long life because if they are not bought within a week they become stale and they would be forced to throw them away since there is nothing much they could do.

She stated that her business has hired a helper to assist in her absence she encouraged other Batswana to be initiative and start working with their hands to get an income.

Source: BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Business & Finance

Comments are closed.