Horticultural Market Brings Hope to Farmers

| May 27, 2015

Horticultural farmers in Kweneng are eagerly waiting for the launch of the horticultural market which is expected to boost local vegetable producers. The horticultural market is to open on August 1.

For a long time local small producers have become spectators in the value chain. With no muscle to negotiate, they have been watching their produce go to waste in cases of oversupply in the market and in worst cases, the farmers would watch in dismay as their produce got gobbled up by retailers literally for free.

With ever escalating input costs in horticultural farming, many small scale farmers have been forced to close shop. Addressing Kweneng horticultural farmers in Mmohung on Monday May 25, Chairperson of Botswana Horticultural Council, Mr Boikaego Phole said in partnership with Botswana Development Corporation (BDC), the council will run the market with a new constitution and system.

The constitution which is at draft stage will allow horticultural associations country wide to nominate persons to sit in the national executive committee of the Botswana horticultural Council. Associations will then become members of the Council.

Mr Phole urged individual farmers to join associations in their localities as no individual will be allowed to deal directly with the horticultural market.He also explained that joining associations will benefit farmers in selling their produce at the market.

He stated that businesses will get their supply from the market hence selling as individuals will not make economic sense. He further said that currently the horticultural market was operating on commission terms, something that will change soon after the new system is in place.

One of the proposed regulations is that the horticultural market will sell produce on wholesale terms to buyers. Mr Phole stated that the new regulations will ensure that farmers’ crops are insured. Moreover, association members will get capital market as surety when applying for CEDA loans.

Operations Manager for Botswana Horticultural Market Mr Mojaki Mazebedi said currently the market is still operating with the commission system where by farmers sell their produce and get 10 per cent as commission.

Mr Mazebedi explained that currently the market is not ready to operate with a wholesale system because they are still waiting for BDC to contribute about P45 million partly as their share while the other amount will be a loan.

He further stated that they have requested for a period of eight weeks starting on June 1 to ready themselves. Although the future looks bright and the rewards mouthwatering, the new system will require that farmers upscale the way they have been doing business.

Farmers have been aised to work on a cropping plan to meet the requirements and demand of the market. For their part Kweneng horticultural farmers have agreed that farmers should not sell directly to the horticultural market instead they should become members of the associations first in order to benefit from the horticultural market.

They have also requested that in order to meet the demands of the market, they need to be trained in quality control measures and grading to produce top quality goods. Furthermore, they said that in most instances, quality is affected by pests and diseases therefore, they appealed to government to assist field officers with transport so that they can visit their farms.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Business & Finance

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