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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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ADB grants BDC P4m for capacity building

Koobonye Ramokopelwa

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BDC head of human capital, Thabile Moipolai

African Development Bank has granted Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) over P4 million for training and capacity building of its staff members, the latter’s Managing Director, Bashi Gaetsaloe has disclosed.

The grant, which is $400,000 could not have come at a better time for BDC which has just begun a foray into the African continent. According to the Head of Human Capital at the investment arm of government, Thabile Moipolai, the grant will be used in areas such as investment, legal and risk, the three divisions which are considered critical as they continue to push the five -year strategy.

BDC has been given the leeway to invest outside Botswana and already some investments are being made in West Africa. Capacitating the staff in the above areas will come in handy for the African expansion.

Moipolai was answering a question from The Midweek Sun on Friday during the company’s annual stakeholder briefing where operational and financial reports for 2017/2018 were made public. The grant will be utilised in the next two years. BDC has reiterated its plan to continue to invest initiatives which are aimed at developing and retaining staff members.

“As we continue to build a strong BDC for the future, continuous learning and development is critical for our business success and therefore remains a priority area for Human Capital,” BDC 2017 annual report reads.

BDC has also developed a future focused competency based training that will be used to make informed learning and development decisions. “The (BDC) academy will also help BDC produce future leaders that are fluid and progressive through a bespoke leadership development,” reads the report.

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KBL announces return of Kickstart program

Koobonye Ramokopelwa

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Previous kickstart beneficiaries

Kgalagadi Breweries Limited, a unit of Sechaba has announced the return of Kickstart, a youth entrepreneurial development program that was suspended three years due to lack of financial resources, Managing Director, Renaud Beauchamp has told the media.

Before the program was put on ice, it had benefited over 70 small medium enterprises with funding, mentoring and market access assistance. According to Beauchamp, the revamped Kickstart will start next year, with an annual budget of about P1, 5 million. “We plan to invest in 15 new businesses every year,” he said at a press briefing which also announced a price reduction for its alcohol brands such as St Louis, Castel Lite and Black Label.

Successful applicants will receive about P200, 000 grants to execute their business ideas. Beauchamp stated that, they have been able to reintroduce Kickstart from ‘freed capital’ as a result of the recent reduction in Alcohol Levy from 55 percent to 35 percent. The clear beer price reduction comes after the Alcohol Levy, which made beer expensive, was slashed by President Mokgweetsi Masisi regime some few months ago.

Meanwhile, Assistant Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment has announced changes in trading hours for businesses that trade with liquor.

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