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Bokomo’s new plant to increase output

Keikantse Lesemela

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Bokomo's refurbished plant Source:The Midweek Sun

Local Fast moving consumer goods manufacturer and distributer, Bokomo Botswana announced that its new milling plant would improve their production capacity by over five percent.

Chief Executive Officer, Werner de Beer said through the upgrade, Bokomo can continue to provide quality products at increased quantities. “This for us is a significant step in the right direction as we are now better placed to meet demand of our products. The efficiencies unlocked by this upgrade will culminate in improved productivity, which will reduce cost pressures that will in the long run lead to price savings for the end consumer,” said De Beer.

The company invested P3 million on the refurbishment of the plant. De Beer told Business Trends that currently the company produces over 7 000 tonnes of maize meal and 3 000 tonnes of flour per month. The company distributes more than 849 consumer products in Botswana and currently manufacturers white star maize meal, Bokomo special maize meal, samp and maize rice among other products.

With the high production capacity, De Beer said they source most of the raw materials from South Africa and other countries, as local produce is not enough for their production. “We have a policy to supply local farmers but unfortunately they can only provide six percent of our demand. Currently, we buy from Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) but it is not sufficient so we import most of our maize and wheat,” he told Business Trends.

Bokomo Botswana Operations Manager, Jaco Venter said the mill upgrade would have a significant positive impact on the operations. “This upgrade will result in enhanced performance of our plant as we are now confidently able to work with larger quantities at an efficient pace and will enable us to increase our contribution to the supply and demand chains within the country,” he said.

Recently the company was awarded the ISO 901:2015 certificate by Botswana Bureau of Standards. De Beer highlighted that they continuously strive for excellence in their production. “It is therefore a proud achievement to have been certified as compliant with international standards of quality. This award has given us the confidence to do more as well as afforded our customers the assurance that Bokomo products are of the highest quality,” noted De Beer.

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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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