Botswana President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has stated that the P300 mln (€22.5 mln) Selebi Phikwe citrus project -launched last Friday- will help reduce the import bill. With the project, Botswana should be able to export citrus fruits and in the process, increase revenue as well as promote smart and skills technology among Batswana.
Between 2015 and 2019, an average of 14 800 tonnes of citrus fruits were imported, at an average cost of P77.9 mln (€5.8 mln), adding that such a high import bill required necessary steps to be taken.
The current annual citrus production in the country is estimated at 3,165 tonnes while approximately 97 per cent of fruit trees were imported.
President Masisi said it was also in alignment with government's strategy to modernise the agricultural sector with the view to boost food security and nutrition in the country. Citrus production and its entire value chain, he said, had tremendous potential for economic diversification and job creation adding that the project was projected to create at least 1,000 jobs.