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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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Cell City rewards customers

Keikantse Lesemela

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Cell City gave away two Toyota Hilux pick up cars worth about P300 000 and three Hisense televion sets worth P15 000 each to their customers through their annual competition.

In partnership with Hisense and Orange Botswana, Cell City conducts annual competitions to reward their customers and contribute to citizen empowerment. Handing over the cars on Friday, Cell City Chief Executive Officer, Brian White said through the competition they want to satisfy their customers and give back to the community. “Cell City and Orange clients were given a chance to win either a Toyota Hilux pickup or a Hisense television set.

All they had to do was purchase any Hisense mobile phone from a Cell City or Orange retail outlet and fill in the competition form in the store,” said White.Thato Ntshabele, who won one of the cars told the Business Trends that she bought a Hisense cell phone worth P900. 00.

“I never expected that I can win a car. I was just filling the forms and dropped into the entry box and I forgot about it. I am so happy to receive this prize and I thank Cell City for this opportunity,” said Ntshabele. Another winner, Dimakatso Mmusi expressed his excitement saying he had always wanted a van and he is grateful to Cell City.

“I just bought a cell phone worth P899.00 at Cell City Railpark mall, I never expected anything, and I was just submitting the form as I was requested by the shop assistants. This car is very useful to me,” said Dimakatso.

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Smecha chillie hits the shelves

Keikantse Lesemela

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For the love of food and the passion to apply modern technology processes in food manufacturing locally, Kgalaletso Mothoagae established her own brand, Smecha specializing in relishes.

She processes and packages chillie in 325 gramms and 1 litre bottles selling at P50 and P150. She told the Business Trends that she decided to process chillies as it is one of the products that are rarely processed in the food industry.

She started cooking it for home consumption and later started selling to friends and currently the product has gone beyond borders at South African Spar shops and Restaurants. “I couldn’t look for any other vegetable as most of them have already been processed in the market. It is my first product of research in the food industry so I found out that I can do good business with this product. This chillie is free from preservatives but still has extended shelf life of 6 months,” said Mothoagae

The Kanye born young lady studied food technology and has the passion to explore the food processing market in Botswana and contribute to reduce the high food import bill. “I wanted to explore more about food and use my skills to contribute to the development of the local food processing and manufacturing industry. I also wanted to supplement my income at the same time,” said Mothoagae.

She has a degree in Food Technology. She says there is a lot of potential for business growth as there is a demand for the product locally and in South Africa. “My main customers are individuals in homes, they have embraced the product, and they love the taste. There is also a market that has been secured in SA; it is available in several shops like spars and some restaurants”. In future, Mothoagae said she would increase the product range to 10 using various vegetables and flavours.

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