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New building technology cuts costs and time

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New building technology introduced by Metse (Pty) Ltd will help save time and cost of building as the construction of a house will only take eight days.

The technology uses panels and a mixture of concrete and cement and can build any house and has been used in India for over 12 years. Speaking to Business Trends, Metse Managing Director, also former Botswana National Youth Council Executive Director, Benjamin Raletsatsi said the technology saves times and other building costs as the house is completed within eight days.

“The backlog in the delivery of houses in Botswana remains a problem and through our technology, Metse can deliver a house within eight days. The speed of the completion of the house provides savings to the customer through the value of time,” said Raletsatsi.The panels are manufactured using high impact moulded inserts bonded between two layers of CCB (conducive carbon black) in situ and erected to produce a straight-to-finish wall. A monolithic structure is then created by filling the entire structure with concrete.

He explained that the system is about 20 percent cheaper compared to the traditional housing materials. He said the system is very strong as it uses concrete instead of normal bricks.  “With this system we can guarantee high quality house without high costs and it is suitable for all locations. It also has durable finishes which minimise rework and repairs,” said Raletsatsi.Raletsatsi said they have approached the Office of the President in a bid to assist the nation in providing affordable homes for Batswana.

Last week they handed over a two bed-roomed house in Old Naledi which was built through the technology. “Housing is a fundamental human need and this is what drives us as Metse and we have gone out to ensure that we innovate and collaborate with housing and industry players to bring affordable comfortable, yet stylish homes,” said Raletsatsi.Metse is a company founded by two Batswana women, Thato Raletsatsi and Kerotse Pie.

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Botswana Railways hit by fuel theft

The MidweekSun Admin

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Botswana Railways CEO, Louis Makwinja

Botswana Railways lost fuel business due to continuous incidents of stolen fuel from the tanks and delays mainly at Mafikeng, in the north Western side of South Africa.

Botswana Railways Chief Executive Officer Leonard Makwinja said, during 2017/2018, their biggest failure was in this area. “Our biggest failure in this aspect was on imports, transporting of fuel from South Africa proved to be a challenge.

There have been incidents of fuel loss on tankers, sometimes a delay in Mafikeng when trains changed and when it arrives in Botswana the tank would be half empty, “said Makwinja. He said this was worsened by allegations that road transportation was cheaper. Currently, they have employed a fuel consultant to look into the whole fuel transportation. “We believe a solution will be found soon.”

The BR Chief explained they heavily rely on the relationship with Transnet to successfully execute its freight mandate. Most of the imports through rail come from South Africa and the main export through rail which is salt and soda ash is transported from Botash to Mafikeng. “Going onwards we have to depend on Transnet for connections to the respective destinations. Our strategic plan going forward is to improve our services to the oil companies so that we are more reliable, timely and profitable.”

During the period, Makwinja said they had to focus on cost containment. The main cost drivers are staff cost, fuel and maintenance of the locomotives. In his statement on Botswana Railways 2018 annual report, Makwinja said the organization’s performance was subdued due to lack of capacity to meet the demand. “In terms of tonnage, our target was 2 million tons but we only achieved 1, 5 million tons. This adverse variance can be attributed to a number of factors including lack of sufficient locomotives and practicing conservative business initiatives and marketing,” he said.

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Calls to improve crop yields with technology

Keikantse Lesemela

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Greenhouse Technologies managing director, Amanda Masire has urged entrepreneurs to venture into agriculture as it is a lucrative business and more beneficial to the national economic development, despite climate change challenges.

Speaking to Business Trends, Masire said there is a need for more training and knowledge on modern agriculture technologies for the country to have sustainable food production. “I am passionate about agriculture and food production. I want to help my country to produce food for itself and reduce dependency on imports. I have learnt that despite all the challenges of climate change, we can still produce our own food through the use of modern technologies,” said Masire.

Masire is an agri-business developer, specializing in horticulture, beekeeping and fish farming. She currently operates Greenhouse Farmers Academy offering training and mentorship on horticulture farming. “Agriculture is the most lucrative business that young people should be looking into. Currently, we depend much on South Africa. We should rise up and develop the sector because as Batswana we have rich land that we are not utilising.” Her services include horticulture starter kit, which includes business plans, lessons, fertilisers and all equipments necessary for a particular horticulture project.

She is currently working with the Ministry of Agriculture Development and Food Security to develop the ISPAAD Program. She said government would embrace modern farming technologies to improve food production. “Most Batswana have lands which they are currently not ploughing because of climate change conditions while the government gives out fertilizers and seeds every year to subsistence farmers yet there is no yield. I have come up with solutions, which include testing soil and supplying lime treatment to reduce acidity. This will help improve crop yield when adopted with other technologies,” she said.

Speaking during Stanbic Lionness Lean In Africa, Masire said with the challenges in the agriculture sector, Batswana should stop looking much into the problems and getting discouraged but should rather think of solutions. “Government is trying but we individuals also need to be innovative and assist government in improving food security. Young people should take opportunity of the agri-business market and reduce unemployment,” said Masire.

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