Botswana: Following a video that went viral on social media of a farmer washing vegetables using effluent water recently, cabinet ministers and Kgatleng district leadership this afternoon toured the farms in Oodi.
While briefing the media, Minister of Agriculture Fidelis Molao said the purpose of the tour was to have a personal appreciation of what obtains at the farms and, most importantly, advise the farmers on the proper handling of vegetables.
Agriculture Minister Molao said the government of Botswana had closed the borders for the importation of vegetables, with the deliberate intention of giving local farmers the opportunity to grow their produce and their businesses and feed the nation, and as a consequence, the farmer must do so following the set protocols.
The Agriculture Minister said it is not the intention of the government to close down any farms. However, there is a need for all the farmers in the country to do as expected so that they do not put the health of the consumers at risk.
Minister Molao appealed to different government departments to ensure regular inspection of the farms to ascertain adherence to set standards in terms of plants that may be watered with effluent water, as well as the use of drip irrigation where necessary.
For her part Minister of Environment and Tourism Philda Kereng, cautioned farmers to ensure all time compliance with the set standards in watering and handling the vegetables for the survival of their businesses. She said that the recent incident has the potential to negatively impact their businesses as customers will lack trust in their handling of food, with a ripple effect beyond limits.
The ministers were accompanied by the Minister of Health, Dr Edwin Dikoloti; Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development also, MP for Mochudi East Mabuse Pule; Deputy Permanent Secretary Ministry of Lands and Water Affairs, Mr Nchidzi Mmolawa, Kgatleng District Commissioner Ms Kolobetso Sejakgomo among others.