Botswana Horticultural Market, founded in 2008, was established in order to resolve the issues of the Batswana horticultural farmers who lacked a market for placement of their products. Aiming to support the local production as opposed to relying on import, the government aided the unification of farmers and the formation of the Botswana Horticultural Council, which partnered with the well-established Botswana Development Corporation in order to launch BHM. With 21 employees currently, once the market has been transformed into a wholesale trading system, this number is likely to double or triple. BHM has a Board of Directors composed of two members from BHC, two members from BDC and two members from the Ministry of Agricultural development and food security. “The Board is responsible for any policy formulation or any changes required”, Simon Meti, Acting CEO of the market, explains.
BHM serves as a market for retail, wholesale and distribution, where local horticultural producers bring their produce which is further on sold under the commission system and wholesale directly to traders, retailers and the public. “We provide storage for farmers that need to store perishable food and we offer to sell their produce through the commission system which is due to be changed into a wholesale trading system. Additionally, we advise farmers on the quality and types of produce”, Simon Meti points out. All products sold by the market remains the property of the producer until sold – BHM never owns the produce. All activities and operations are regulated through a Code of Conduct enforced by market management.
The Market draws a diversity of buyers from all over the country and is the only place in Botswana which offers the opportunity to compare fresh produce and prices. Producers are able to compare their products to those of other farmers, thereby keeping abreast of the latest trends and developments in the industry. Likewise, buyers are able to compare the quality of goods. “Currently we do not have any international clients. We are aiming to establish cooperation with the Tswane Market in Pretoria , South Africa were we buy certain goods we do not have. We also hope to set up collaboration with the Swazi Market in the future”, Simon Meti, emphasizes.
Located in the Botswana’s capital city Gaborone, BHM is largest of its kind in the country. Owned by horticultural farmers, the facilities are easily accessible and the market hall has a capacity for 3600 tonnes of produce while the cold storage facilities can accommodate up to 320 tonnes of fresh produce. BHM is a “one-stop fresh produce centre”, aiming to offer space for wholesale, retailing and packaging, as well as a cafeteria and ample parking space.
BHM is a growing enterprise with excellent potential for expansion. “It is essential to invest and support BHM in order to respond to the issue of food security and bring the market back to life”, Simon Meti concludes.