- Minister Serame adds her voice of concern about escalating food prices
Local industry players across the country are bracing for the worst as the cost of food is increasing due to fuel price hikes.
Information reaching this publication is that international ever rising food and fuel prices since the Russian invasion of Ukraine have become the subject of much discussion on Government Enclave and within industry players. It is understood that local millers will meet with stakeholders such as the Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) to address the escalating food prices. Sources say the millers and suppliers, who are still struggling to regain their footing after months of continued increases in fuel prices that in turn lead to increases in transport costs, are perturbed that the domino effect could have an impact on recovery of their businesses.
Contacted for comment about the impending meeting between millers and other stakeholders, the Chairman of Botswana Millers Association, Christo Ellis, said he had been on leave and was therefore not in a position to say much. At Bokomo Botswana Chief Executive Officer Werner de Beer confirmed the meeting. “We are in consultation with BAMB to find ways of mitigating the current situation of escalating raw material prices,” de Beer said. Bokomo recently warned that prices for food items such as maize and flour may be adjusted “due to the ongoing global rise of raw material prices and the added pressure on transportation of these caused by the rise in fuel prices”.
De Beer said Bokomo is consistently looking at global commodity prices and countries from which to source these commodities to try and source the best quality raw materials at the cheapest price. “There is also a continuous focus on finding cost saving initiatives within our company to off-set against inflationary pressures,” he said. “The government is aware of the situation and we have warned our customers in advance that price increases are imminent, given the global factors currently at play.”
The Minister of Finance, Peggy Serame, has added her voice of concern about the rising fuel and food prices. Speaking at the just ended meeting of Finance Ministers of Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU), Serame noted: “The spillover effects from the war (Russian-Ukraine) are not only threatening the global economic growth prospects but food security with the continued surge in food prices and other commodities. “The ongoing war in Ukraine remains the major risk that will further undermine economic recovery efforts. We continue to face a surge in energy prices which is impacting the prices of basic food commodities, and if this continues unabated, it will further push our people below the poverty line.”