Vegetable smuggling on the rise :: Mmegi Online

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The ban on importing certain varieties of vegetables into the country from South Africa and other vegetable exporting countries keeps police on their toes as smugglers continue to evade border authorities to smuggle vegetables into the country.

Last December, the government moved to ban some vegetable imports in a bid to force local food retailers to buy vegetables from local farmers, but efforts to meet domestic demand are falling short.

Police along the border are unable to keep up with the growing number of vegetable smugglers who continue to find ways to smuggle perishables into the country despite the ban.

This can be attested to by Ramatlabama Police Station Commander Superintendent Zibani Mbisana who said he is currently investigating a case in which two taxi drivers were arrested for possession of two combis filled with onions near the village of Ditlharapa Friday night.

He said following a police stop and search, the duo did not report loads of onions believed to have been smuggled into the country from South Africa. South.

“The duo were found in possession of loads of onions. They had removed the chairs from both combis and filled them with onions. The suspects were heading towards Gaborone when their journey was interrupted by the police,” Mbisana said .

“We have since handed the suspects over to BURS {Botswana Unified Revenue Service} who charged them with a P5,000 fine and confiscated the onions.”

Mbisana revealed that the illegal importation of vegetables remains a concern as they continue to arrest and charge people for smuggling perishables every week.

He said it shows the demand for vegetables is high as people continue to smuggle them despite the ban.

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