Botswana: Smugglers Threaten Food Safety

| February 16, 2016

By Bonang Masolotate

Ramotswa - The increasing cases of smuggling of fruits and crops into the country threatens national food safety and security.

Ministry of Agriculture register of agro-chemicals, Mr Loitseng Sebetwane said recently during an awareness campaign on bio-security targeting travellers.

"Some importers of agriculture produce have studied the movement of our inspectors, they cross the border when inspectors have knocked off," he highlighted.

He said although the country was a net importer of food, there was need to safeguard the country's interest when importing food.

Mr Sebetwane said in the past the country experienced outbreaks of diseases and pests which originated outside the country, and said such pests and diseases came into the country through people who imported infected and affected fruits and crops.

Mr Sebetwane said some people were not aware of the impact of failing to declare their imports at the ports of entry while others smuggle deliberately. He said there was need for people to be aware of their actions, and added that the ministry has a duty to inspect thoroughly at ports of entry.

For his part, South East District head of veterinary services, Mr Ignatius Sennanyana said issues of bio-security need to be addressed at ports of entry. He added that there was no country that could exist without bio-security hence the need for import and export permits for those involved in trading between countries.

"For instance, we get livestock feeds from South Africa, they are not allowed to sell to the European Union market, hence we need to have people who know what they are doing at our borders," he added.

For his part, BURS principal customs officer, Mr Olebile Mokgwaela said they do not have adequate resources to inspect each and every vehicle which goes through the country's borders.

Source: BOPA

Category: Technology

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