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BAMB realises growth in operational sales

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Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) recorded total operational sales of P267, 7 million in the financial year 2014/15.

Indicated in its recently released 2014/15 financial report, this is a 34.7 percent growth from the previous operational sales of P198, 7 million. BAMB, which derives its revenue from sale of goods and management fees for the strategic grain reserve, saw its total revenue for the year grow from P209, 8 million to P278, 6million for the reporting period.

The marketing board led by Edison Wotho, who is former Permanent Secretary in the agriculture ministry, purchased a total of 34,104metric tonnes of grain in the immediate past harvesting season. Pulses increased by 2000 metric tonnes from the previous year, while there was a significant drop in sorghum and maize purchases as a result of drought.

“This year for the first time, pulses became the major contributor for the year at 21 percent followed by sorghum at 19 percent. Sorghum has been relegated to second place as a result of low purchases from millers. During the reporting period a lot of Millers closed shop due to financial constraints,” reads the report. Sorghum relegated from 70.7 percent in 2013/14, whilst pulses saw a hike from 5.44 percent in 2013/14 reporting period.

Sunflower constituted to 15 percent whilst maize was trailing at the bottom at 10 percent in 2014/15. The major reason for lower purchases of sorghum during this reporting period was that a lot of millers closed shop due to financial constraints, says the report. Agricultural inputs contributed only 35 percent to total sales during the reporting period.

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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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