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BAMB procures maize from Zambia

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Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) has procured about 5 000metric tonnes of maize from Zambia, Business Trends has learnt.

BAMB Chief Executive, Nyalalani Edson Wotho told Business Trends in an interview this week that they have run out of maize and are in the process of buying more from outside. “We have procured 5 000metric tonnes of non-GMO maize and we shall increase it if the need arises. We are expecting delivery in the next two to three weeks,” he disclosed. BAMB is a government parastatal, which is among others tasked with managing national grain strategic reserves.

Currently on the Storage Grain Reserves (SGR) Wotho said the sorghum is at its maximum level at 30 000metric tonnes which is exceeding their minimum of 10 000metric tonnes, whilst the pulses are at 2 000metric tonnes. There is no available maize at all in the SGR.

Meanwhile, the 2015/16 harvest season might be the worst of its kind in years for Botswana. The season, which has since been declared drought hit, does not seem promising either for this year’s production. The rainfall forecasts by the department of meteorological services are also below normal. 

This unavailability of rain dents farmers’ hopes of ever harvesting something to the table to fend for their families, let alone those commercial farmers who are in business and need to make money. Rural Sociologist, Dr Nelson Tselaesele told this publication that this year will be one of the worst drought years to be experienced in Botswana. “Generally the rainfall is low and the ploughing season is also short. Some tractor owners have decided to park their tractors.

Ploughing dry will cause them more costs as they will have to spend more on diesel,” shared Dr Tselaesele. The expert has indicated that there is a likelihood of an increase in the import bill for grain, particularly with maize. According to his observations as he moves around the country, if there is a harvest this year, it will be a miracle.

“However, I cannot rule out that rain may fall between now and end of January. Those in the Southern part may have a chance to plough something before the closing period, end of February. Maize is resistant to drought than sorghum, as it requires a lot of water. With the heat wave experienced, those who planted early November may not get anything at all. As for traditional crops like beans, there may be hope,” he said.

BAMB chief executive, on the other hand has indicated that it is too early to give projections for this harvesting season. “If the rain can bless us in the next two weeks, then we can have a clearer picture of where we stand for 2015/16 harvest season. For maize crops, however it might be a bit late.”

In 2014/15 harvest season, BAMB purchased a total of 34,104 metric tonnes of grains against a total of 65,846mt in 2013/14 season. Pulses purchases increased by 2000mt from the previous year, while there was a significant drop in sorghum and maize purchases as a result of drought. Maize purchases were at 239mt against 13,669mt in the prior year, while sorghum was 27,803mt from 43,321mt in 2013/14.

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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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