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- Molale says farmers are expected to be price takers, and not set prices
- Calls for attitude change
- Accuse BAMB for taking the lead in exploiting farmers
- Molale says if farmers are not appreciated food security will not be attained
Farmers have finally gotten the backing of a cabinet minister on their calls for the market to change its attitude towards them when buying their products, where they are expected to be price takers who cannot set their own.
Transport and Public Works minister, Eric Molale, who is also a farmer of note in the Mosisedi farmers took the opportunity when giving a vote of thanks at the Mosisedi Commercial Farmers Harvest Day over the week to criticise the attitude which he said was demeaning to farmers.
Molale said until this attitude against the farmer, the intended objective on food security will not be met. Molale could not mince his words, said farmers were most disrespected when they sell the products, something which he said if unchecked would demoralise commercial farmers who have the passion for farming.
“I urge farmers to be resistant and not give away your product at low prices while you worked hard, with high costs to produce them,” he said.
He singled out Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) which he said is the lead in the crusade to inflict pain on the farmers when it comes to pricing.
“BAMB has the attitude of saying the farmer must be price taker. That should change, the farmer must not be a price taker but rather must sell in a way that the market forces are dictating,” he said.
Molale gave an example of a bag of maize, which BAMB buys from farmers for P160, but immediately turns around and sell it for P220 without any value added to the product.
“There is no country around world that does not subside agriculture. Every country in the world heavily subsidises agriculture, while in Botswana we go half, then turn around and import from those heavily subsidised countries,” posited.
He also called for the condition for farmers’ financial credit should be conducive for them to pay back the money, and they should be understood and appreciated.
“The farmers have strongest attitude ever, but if we have an attitude against the farmer and we do not appreciate that their faith in difficult times, we will not achieve food security,” Molale said. Meanwhile Molale has called on the agriculture officers to provide full time services to the Mosisedi Farms Service Centre to provide the necessary assistance.
Meanwhile Molale also questioned why farmers were not allowed to produce genetically modified Organism (GMO), while government turns around import the same from other countries when there is shortage of food.