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Modernised agriculture is key to sustainable growth

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Botswana fully subscribes to the United Nations Aspiration No.1 of Agenda 2063, which envisages a modern and productive African agriculture that uses science, technology, innovation and indigenous knowledge.

Speaking during Sefalana’s Win a Tractor Grand Finale, Boipolelo Khumomatlhare, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security, explained further that the aspiration states that the hand hoe will be banished by 2025 and the sector will be modern, profitable and attractive to the continent’s youth and women.

“This aspiration is consistent with Botswana’s Vision 2036 Pillar on agriculture which states that our country will have a sustainable technology driven and commercially viable agricultural sector,” said Khumomatlhare. According to the Agenda 2063, African countries will be amongst the best performers in global quality of life measures, which will be attained through inclusive growth; job creation, increasing agricultural production, investments in science, technology, research and innovation, youth empowerment and inclusion of basic services including health, nutrition, education, shelter , water and sanitation.

Khumomatlhare said Vision 2036 also calls for development of a disease-free agricultural sector that optimises the use of land, utilisation of technologies and modern farming methods to improve productivity. The vision also encourages development of private sector led value chains in the sector, including production, processing, marketing and distribution. He said that one of the primary constraints to increased productivity and profitability stems from the limited use of modern farming technology, equipment and inputs.

“The use of modern equipment could also make harvests more efficient and help to move produce to the market more quickly and in better condition. Modern agricultural inputs such as seeds, agrochemicals and fertilisers can also reduce losses,” said Khumomatlhare.

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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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