To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

August 25, 2008

Botswana agriculture anxious about effect of SADC Free Trade Area

A few days after the Southern African Development Community (SADC) became a free trade area, fears are mounting that the move may spell doom for Botswana's agricultural industry.

A study is now being commissioned by the Botswana Agricultural Union (BAU) to find ways government can help sustain rural livelihoods in the face of external competition.

BAU chairman, Phillip Fischer, said the elimination of import duties would seriously threaten the beef, dairy, small stock, piggery, poultry, ostrich, grains, and horticulture industries. He said under the SADC Free Trade Area, agricultural products are not eligible for preferential treatment.

Following the announcement at the recent SADC heads of state summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa, the BAU is commissioning a sector-wide study to assess the nature and extent of adverse effects on Botswana's eight commodity value chains (CVCs) that will be caused by the elimination of tariffs. Upon completion, the document will be presented to government, outlining the adverse effects of elimination of the tariffs, as well as how government can assist the local industry to survive the challenges.

"As no adjustment strategies have been developed or implemented in anticipation of the inevitable elimination of tariffs under the SADC Protocol on Trade, it is anticipated that the elimination of tariffs, and in particular, the elimination of Botswana's import permit system under the Control of Goods Act, will adversely of effect all eight of our agricultural commodity value chains," the BAU chief says.

Fischer is sceptical about remedial measures on local industry as proposed in Article 20 of the SADC Free Trade Act. It does not only override the existing SACU infant industry protection law, but the article in question says governments can only safeguard their industries if there is evidence that the affected industry is adjusting to competition.

The proposed study will, among others, assess the immediate adverse economic and social effects of eliminating tariffs on each agricultural sector, as well as the potential commercial viability of each sector without tariffs. For those sectors that have the potential to be competitive without tariffs, the BAU is seeking adjustment strategies to enhance and sustain their competitiveness.

The BAU study will also look at how to assist producers in those inherently uncompetitive sectors so they can dump their businesses and migrate to competitive sectors. For those producers who cannot migrate to competitive sectors, the BAU is seeking social strategies to prop up rural livelihoods.

Mmegi

Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by Ourblogtemplates.com

Back to TOP