In 1998 I met one of the former presidents of Botswana at last, after struggling to set up the appointment for two weeks. It was more of an ego-thing; I was young and just wanted to impress my twin-brother with having a president's signature. But being a - however young and inexperienced - owner of a import/export company got me the appointment. At 21:30 somewhere in August that year I met Sir Ketumile Masire, the second president of Botswana after independence in 1966. While waiting for him at his home town Kanye, I enjoyed a cup of tea with his wife Lady Gladys. I don't know how it came about, but when I asked her for conversation's sake what she think I can import to Botswana, she mentioned that her partly-retired husband is considering buying a farm to start with poultry. And at that moment I clicked: I haven't seen a single piece of chicken at any shop for the past 2 months! She told me then that Botswana virtually don't have any poultry-farms.
The next morning I set off to the first of more than 20 shops and retail food stores that day. non-e of them had any chicken or even turkey in stock for months; all of them said it's because they can't get any. I took a wild chance and asked them if they are willing to buy from me if I get it at 16 Pula/kilogram to them. That time the exchange rate was at a stage at ZAR 1.47 against a pula, so I was asking for R 23,52 per kilogram, while the shops still had to add their profits. And I still didn't knew at what price I could get it, never mind other costs like taxes and transport from South Africa.
Keeping in mind that beef, one of Botswana's main contributors to their GDP, was selling for 10 to 12 pula a kilogram for prime cuts like rump and steak, I had all the odds stacked up against me. Since chicken is much cheaper than beef in South Africa, its the poor man's meat of choice there; at my price it wouldn've be the opposite in Botswana. To my ultimate surprise and relief, I collected fairly large orders from 22 shops that day.
I personally think Botswana citizens just got fed-up for only having a choice between beef and beef every day. (Fish and sheep is also almost impossible to get there at that time, even in the capital Gaborone). I cursed the public telephone for the tenth time, but on the eleventh try I got through to Rainbow Chickens in Worcester, South Africa.
With their 17 farms around town, they were the only company I know because I had a friend working there. He promptly worked out a price for me, and even offered that Rainbow will deliver with their cooler-trucks to Botswana. The total price of R17,22 per kilogram, delivered, placed me promptly in heaven.
The next day I went down to Johannesburg to sign a deal for gym-equipment that was to be delivered in Lobatse. That same Wednesday I went back with it to Botswana. My rented Avis-car and my truck behind me arrived just before closing time that night for the border, and my plan was to get it delivered that same night and catch a plane early the next morning to Cape Town to go and sign my 'chicken-deal'. The border-official recognized me and asked what I was bringing in. I handed the CCA1-documentation and others to him, and mentioned that my next imports will be 'enough chicken to smother Gaborone with' kambing guling jakarta. Instead of laughing like he always does, he stopped me with a heavy frown: "But Sir, you can't. Don't you know that it's not permitted because the government wants to boost our own poultry-farming industry?" They had a ban on poultry-imports!
Had he told me that only 18 hours later, I would've already been the shocked owner of 6 truckloads of chicken with nowhere to sell them and a financial loss.
The moral of the story: The owner of Climate World Trade will never count his chickens again before they haven't hatched! Always make certain about all the red tape before anything else and follow the rules of global trade.