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VCF hosts farming conference

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Value Chain Farming (VCF) Africa-Botswana which runs VCF, a market driven contract farming initiative that seeks to support the commercialisation of small scale farmers, will host a three-day conference from February 1 to 3 at Ave Marie Conference Centre. The initiative focuses on provision of skills, advanced agricultural technology, financing frameworks and infrastructure development. Managing Director Tshepiso Ntshobotho says the inaugural conference will provide information on emerging external trends and current issues that impact the future of the agriculture industry.

VCF Africa – Botswana is an Agribusiness Consortium of two Italian companies, BEXA Consulting, Private Department of Agriculture Food Energy and Environmental Studies (DAFEES) and Longreach International (Pty) Ltd (Botswana). Professor Allesandra Arioli of DAFEES and Stefano Baldi Netafim of BEXA have confirmed that they will be speaking at the conference. Organisers believe that there is an abundant and diverse range of opportunities from production of crops, livestock as well as mechanisation waiting to be exploited. They say it is therefore essential to create the conditions for private entrepreneurs, including small farmers, to create successful businesses and gain easier access to finance and the markets.

The conference is also expected to provide an opportunity for players in the agriculture and food-processing sector to strengthen cooperation and forge new partnerships. It will also provide a unique business platform for industry leaders, policy makers, governments and other important stakeholders for collaboration on the huge potential for growth, development and business. Conference content will vary from: plenary sessions focusing on farming to farm inputs, mechanisation and extension services, site tours and showcases of agri-business products and services.

Participants will include, industry leaders, decision makers and important stakeholders from across the entire spectrum of agriculture and related sectors. VCF Africa-Botswana focuses on creating, modeling and promoting investment projects for the African agriculture industry, through partnerships with other investing or consulting partners.

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UN, De Beers launch programme for Women

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The most recent opportunity for women entrepreneurs is the United Nations (UN) and De Beers project – a three-year capacity-building programme to improve the livelihoods of more than 1,200 women micro-entrepreneurs in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

Launched last month, the project is tailored specifically for each country, and is expected to be delivered with local implementation partners and focus on regions that have high levels of unemployment and where formal job opportunities are limited.

“Through these programmes, we hope to equip women entrepreneurs with the skills, training and confidence to build successful and sustainable businesses,” said Bruce Cleaver, Chief Executive Officer, De Beers Group. Cleaver believes the project will help prop up communities’ economic activities, as women are proven to reinvest more of their income back into the community and to actively support the creation of jobs for others.

According to De Beers Group the beneficiaries will be equipped with management skills to build confidence and capacity to operate and grow successful small businesses. Anne Shongwe, UN Women Representative, South Africa Multi-Country Office said the programme aims to complement national efforts on job creation and economic empowerment of women.

“Investing in women’s economic empowerment, particularly with women in the informal sector, sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth,” said Shongwe.

She further said investing in the capacity development of women micro-entrepreneurs leads to women having higher incomes, better access to and control over resources.

The programme is part of De Beers Group’s three-year partnership with UN Women, which includes a US$3 million investment to advance women and girls in De Beers Group’s diamond producing countries, announced in September last year. Over the past years women pioneers who have passionately grown local businesses include, Theresa Mokoka, renowned female farmer in Kweneng, Nkata Seleka, founder and owner of Sleek Foods, among others.

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Seed Co lists on the BSEL bourse

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Seed Co, the Africa-focused seed company has listed its shares on the Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) effective 5th October 2018. The shares for the Zimbabwean based company started trading on the same day.

“This is a primary listing by way of introduction of the issued share capital of Seed Co, comprising of 379,331,127 of ordinary shares on the main Board of the BSEL,” reads BSEL media statement. Seed Co is a leading certified seed company authorized to market seed varieties developed by itself, government and other associated seed breeders in over fifteen (15) African countries. The company is involved in the breeding, multiplication and distribution of mainly hybrid seed varieties.

In commenting on this milestone by Seed Co, the Chief Executive Officer of BSEL Thapelo Tsheole highlighted that, “this reinforces the value of listing companies on the exchange as this listing reiterates that for companies that wish to raise capital or increase visibility in the market, the stock exchange is the right avenue”. He further said BSEL is happy to welcome a company of Seed Co’s stature to the market.

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