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Transportation a major setback for Botash

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Transportation costs remains a major challenge for the business operations of Botswana Ash (Botash), management has said. 

Unlike other commodities whose pricing is dictated by the volatile global market conditions, Botash Operations Manager Kangangwane Phatshwane explained that market conditions are not so much a factor for their product. However, this is not to suggest that they are immune to market conditions.

“We do not experience price escalations unlike with other commodities of copper and nickel as it has been observed lately. The most challenging aspect in Botash is transportation.” Phatshwane said last week in Sowa Town where Botash had hosted the local media.

Transporting their product to the market is very costly. “We spend P300million to the South to transport soda ash and coarse salt per annum and this impact on our profit margins every year,” added Managing Director Montwedi Mphathi.

This amount is shared between Botswana Railways and South Africa’s Transnet, he explained. Road transport, said Mphathi, costs economies a lot of money more than it can be imagined. Botash uses road transport to transport their product to the North.

As part of the company’s strategic themes, Botash will look into the supply chain and logistics capability to optimise its existing supply chain and design a market strategy with logistics channels in mind. 

Part of the company’s project in line with the theme; is to accessible to customers and develop pre-packs for the market. Mphathi said they are currently concluding warehousing and delivery options in this area. Botash is also looking to set Zambia as a hub to make products readily accesible to customer and develop pre-packacks for the market.

In another development, Botash is looking to develop a new customer base in Sub Saharan Africa for soda ash and salt. The targeted markets are Mozambique, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Angola and DRC and the existing South Africa.

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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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