Last Thursday I took a bike ride to check out the Botswana Consumer Fair. This is an annual event where producers from all of Botswana, and some from South Africa, display their products for consumers and dealers in Botswana. It was not difficult to find as all I had to do was walk with the rest of the masses assuming we were all going to the same place. Combie (15 passenger vans) prices went up so more people are walking now. I noticed plenty of parents with kids and some people even stopped me and asked I take their picture.
It cost around 3 USD to get into the consumer fair, but it was so big I bet someone found a way to get in for free. The first thing that caught my eye was a carnival set up just like it would be in the U.S. Farris Wheel, mini roller coaster, spinning vomit inducing rides ect. Then I noticed just about everyone eating ice cream. And if they were not eating it they were holding 2-5 pints looking somewhat confused as what to do to keep it from freezing. The ice cream companies were at the fair and had a promotion price of around 5 Pula per pint, which is less than 90 cents a pint. So I got some ice cream too, and it was good.
At least half of the goods being sold were Chinese/Asian imports, and a bunch of little and not so little boys were walking around the plastic assault rifles. One thing that consistently caught my eye were the beautiful homespun dresses.
There were some homemade confections as well some people selling plants, but otherwise it was mostly textiles and cheap imported trinkets for sale. The agricultural display was much more rewarding. They had a full fledged stock show, so I immediately felt comfortable. To watch people walk around and admire livestock is something I have always found so curious. I take the work that is needed to raise an animal for granted, and I could tell by the looks on these farmers faces that they know so much more than me when they see an animal. Here is a picture of the Grand Champion Bull.
In addition to livestock there was every possible category of agricultural product up for judging at the agricultural show. I even got to taste the Grand Champion sweet reed. I’ve never been to an agricultural show before, even though I was a member of 4H my senior year at GHS, but I couldn’t imagine this one being any better. All the government agencies had booths explaining what they did and how they could help farmers and farmers brought in their produce to show. Agriculture is being heavily promoted in Botswana.