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BAMB charts new path to push food security

Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) new Chief Executive Officer, Leonard Morakaladi, has said his organisation is currently taking a new path which will see it move to become a key player in the economic make up as well as national agendas of employment creation and economic diversification. Morakaladi was addressing a press conference recently in Gaborone.

Morakaladi is of the view that apart from the fact that Agriculture puts food on the table, the sector carries inarguable potential in contributing to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and creation of much needed jobs especially for the unemployed young people. Giving a brief update on the company’s operations the CEO shared that apart from buying local produce BAMB was also moving into creating linkages between livestock producers and arable producers in the area of grain by-products uptake by local livestock farmers.

Morakaladi also offered clarification on pricing concerns, saying BAMB pricing was based on regional trends as Botswana was on overall importing most of its grain.  “We use the Southern African Features Exchange, we basically benchmark our prices based on the prevailing pricing in the Southern Africa region so that if we run out of grain we can still have our boarders open so that we can import, so we try by all means to harmonies the prices,” he said.

He also explained that his organization operates on two types of pricing being, contract pricing and non contract pricing. Under the contract prices category BAMB enters into an agreement with an indentified grain producer with proven production capacity.  “This provides hedging mechanism for our continuous suppliers who adhere to our agreement in feeding us with certain amount of grain at agreed time intervals, this usually encompasses our large scale commercial farmers,” he said.

Morakaladi explained that under this category, procuring prices are a bit higher that non contract prices. BAMB also, leveraging on government incentives offers 30 % input cost payback to producers for every 5 hectares of grain produce. Regarding Botswana’s grain production capacity quantity, the BAMB Chief Executive said that currently Botswana was producing on average 20 000 metric tons of Maize against the annual consumption of 142 000 metric tons.

 “This season we are only expecting just over 10 000 metric tons, this clearly reflects that we are by far net importers of maize and always will be unless we improve this tonnage,” he said. Against the annual consumption of 90 000 metric tons of sorghum Botswana is almost able to feed itself as a nation. “This season we are expecting 35 000 metric tons of harvest, coupled with over 40 000 metric tons in our storages we can comfortably say we will easily meet our annual consumption demand,” he said.

Morakaladi also said the same about cowpeas production explaining that this season, Botswana produced around 7 000 metric tons which will carry the nation through coupled with substantial grain available in BAMB storages to date. BAMB is mandated with taking care of the Government Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) through which the organization ensures that in the worst case scenario Botswana would have enough grain to feed itself for a significant amount of time.

“We are looking at having at least 30 000 metric tons of Maize, Sorghum and beans in our storage facilities, this can also be maintained by hosting over 234 million pula, ready in the bank  to buy grains at any point in time to ensure we continue feeding the nation,” he said.
He underscored that going forward the Board intends to fast track implementation of the cluster strategy.

“We will be working closely with our small and medium scale farmers to try and assist them with incubation and clustering mechanism to inculcate the spirit of clustering which co nsequently results in increased output because when our farmers produce individually they have  challenges with accessing  fertilizers, recapitalization and machinery.”Morakaladi also shared that BAMB will engage farmers association and community cooperatives to see how they can work together towards increased grain produce.

“Our commercial farmers are an important component in our course but we believe they are at a level now where they can stand on their own, they have graduated, this now allows us to invest more incubation and technical assistance into our small farmer,” he said.
BAMB also provides an advisory role to the livestock farming community through its business centers countrywide which includes retailing veterinary requisites ranging from vaccines, dips, de wormers, antibiotics, veterinary instruments, antibiotics, mineral and vitamin supplements for livestock and poultry.

In the 2016/17 financial year Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board registered total revenue increase of 20.5% from P332 million in 2016 to P400.7 million at end of the 2017 financial year. The revenue growth in revenue was mainly attributed to sale of animal feeds, veterinary medicines, which for the first time were the major contributor to BAMB total sales. However the board experienced a decline in profit as compared to the year ending March 2016 as it recorded a profit of P19, 959, 41 as at March 2017.

BAMB is tasked with providing a market for locally grown scheduled crops such as cereals, pulses/beans and oilseeds, as well as ensure that adequate supplies exist for sale to customers at affordable prices. The organization has in recent years been undergoing restructuring of their business operations and remodeling its management strategies intended at benefiting the producer and uptake consumer better.

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Business

Payless to partake in BSE’s Flagship Tshipidi program

28th June 2022
PAYLESS

Newly established wholly indigenous citizen owned retail chain Payless Retail (PTY) Ltd is set to partake in the first session of Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE)’s Tshipidi Mentorship Program (TMP) on Monday June 29th.

The TMP aims to train and capacitate SMEs so they can operate as corporates and eventually list on the local bourse. According to local bourse, BSE, the program aims to provide practical training to potential issuers through a comprehensive and interactive program that covers the key themes necessary to position a company to list on the BSE.

Payless Retail is a newly established supermarket chain whose mission is to become a convenient one-stop shopping destination as it is one of the Botswana oldest retailing brands.  It started off as Corner Supermarket in January 1976, and to date boasts of nine stores in, among others, Gaborone, Mochudi, Molepolole and Tlokweng. Payless was recently acquired by Ellis Retail Group, which is led by businessman Elliot Moshoke.

The takeover catapulted Ellis Retail to the envious position of being the first wholly indigenous owned major retail chain. “We jumped at this opportunity because it gave us a chance to prove to Batswana that the retail business is open and lucrative.”

The objective is to create a proudly Botswana retail chain that fully supports our national Vision, economic development and citizen economic empowerment ambitions,” Moshoke told BusinessPost.

He further emphasized that Batswana are capable and able to run large scale businesses hence they need to accept invite foreign investors who will come in to support us not take the business.
“Our win as Payless in the Fast Moving Consumer goods (FMCG) industry is a win for Batswana. We need their support in this difficult and challenging journey.

As you are aware, Payless is the only retail chain in the hands of Batswana ba Sekei. We need to take advantage of this to generate employment and create small businesses in retail and Agri businesses,” he explained.

The retailer has also partnered with Botswana Investment & Trade Center (BITC) on their #PushaBW campaign with a view to initiating earnest engagement with local producers to iron out bottlenecks and ensure seamless trading.

“Local producers have to be part of the phenomenal growth of the Payless brand. This will in turn facilitate employment creation and economic growth. We did this because we have the utmost respect for local manufacturers and producers,” he mentioned.

Payless is currently restocking all of its stores; a development that Moshoke says is testament to the retailer’s commitment to growing the brand and ensuring continuity of business. He further revealed that renowned retail suppliers like PST and CA Sales have reignited their trust in Payless, opening their doors for Payless as they have faith in the retailer’s new owners.

The takeover has reportedly saved more than 200 jobs and gave a new lease of life to the previously fledging Payless brand. According to a press release from the management team, the Payless work forces are also extremely excited about what the future holds. The TMP is a comprehensive and interactive program that covers the key themes necessary to position a company to list on the BSE.

The program is administered by experts within the listing ecosystem and seeks to bring the potential issuers closer to the listings advisers, investors and leaders of already listed companies.  “As a strategic initiative, the BSE decided to set up this mentorship program in a bid to assist SMEs to strategize, corporatize and acclimatize in order to list to access equity finance and expand operations,” said the BSE.

The TMP will avail to SMEs practical insights, knowledge and feedback from institutional investors, increased awareness of the BSE listing requirements as well as an intimate network of advisors and CEOs of listed companies. After training, Payless will graduate with improve governance structures and better knowledge of articulating its business strategy. The retailer will also gain increased visibility through BSE marketing platforms.

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Business

BITC assisted companies rake in P2.96 billion in export earnings

21st June 2022
BITC-CEO-Keletsositse-Olebile

Despite Covid-19 interrupting trade worldwide, exporting companies in Botswana which benefited from the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) services realised P2.96 billion in export earnings during the period from April 2020 to March 2021.

In the preceding financial year, the sale of locally manufactured products in foreign markets had registered export revenue of P2, 427 billion against a target of P3, 211 billion BITC, which celebrates 10 years since establishment, continues to carry out several initiatives targeted towards expanding the Botswana export base in line with Botswana’s desire to be an export led economy, underpinned by a robust export promotion programme in line with the National Export Strategy.

The main products exported were swamp cruiser boats, pvc tanks and pvc pipes, ignition wiring sets, semi-precious stones, veterinary medicines, hair braids, coal, textiles (towels and t-shirts) and automobile batteries. These goods were destined mainly for South Africa, Zimbabwe, Austria, Germany, and Namibia.

With Covid-19 still a problem, BITC continues to roll out targeted virtual trade promotion missions across the SADC region with a view to seeking long-lasting market opportunities for locally manufactured products.

Recently, the Centre facilitated participation for Botswana companies at the Eastern Cape Development Council (ECDC) Virtual Export Symposium, the Botswana-Zimbabwe Virtual Trade Mission, the Botswana-Zambia Virtual Trade Mission, Botswana-South Africa Virtual Buyer/Seller Mission as well as the Botswana-Namibia Virtual Trade Mission.

BITC has introduced an e-Exporting programme aimed at assisting Botswana exporters to conduct business on several recommended e-commerce platforms. Due to the advent of COVID-19, BITC is currently promoting e-trade among companies through the establishment of e-commerce platforms and is assisting local companies to embrace digitisation by adopting e-commerce platforms to reach export markets as well as assisting local e-commerce platform developers to scale up their online marketplaces.

During the 2019/2020 financial year, BITC embarked on several initiatives targeted at growing exports in the country; facilitation of participation of local companies in international trade platforms in order to enhance export sales of local products and services into external markets.

BITC also helped in capacity development of local companies to compete in global markets and the nurturing of export awareness and culture among local manufacturers in order to enhance their skills and knowledge of export processes; and in development and implementation of trade facilitation tools that look to improve the overall ease of doing business in Botswana.

As part of building export capacity in 2019/20, six (6) companies were selected to initiate a process to be Organic and Fair Trade Certified. These companies are; Blue Pride (Pty) Ltd, Motlopi Beverages, Moringa Technology Industries (Pty) Ltd, Sleek Foods, Maungo Craft and Divine Morula.

In 2019 seven companies which were enrolled in the Botswana Exporter Development Programme were capacitated with attaining BOBS ISO 9001: 2015 certification. Three (3) companies successfully attained BOBS ISO 9001:2015 certification. These were Lithoflex (Pty) Ltd, General Packaging Industries and Power Engineering.

BITC’s annual flagship exhibition, Global Expo Botswana (GEB) to create opportunities for trade and strategic synergies between local and international companies. The Global Expo Botswana) is a premier business to business exposition that attracts FDI, expansion of domestic investment, promotion of exports of locally produced goods and services and promotion of trade between Botswana and other countries.

Another tool used for export development by BITC is the Botswana Trade Portal, which has experienced some growth in terms of user acceptance and utilisation globally. The portal provides among others a catalogue of information on international, regional and bilateral trade agreements to which Botswana is a party, including the applicable Rules, Regulations and Requirements and the Opportunities for Botswana Businesses on a product by product basis.

The portal also provides information on; measures, legal documents, and forms and procedures needed by Botswana companies that intend on doing business abroad. BITC continues to assist both potential and existing local manufacturing and service entities to realise their export ambitions. This assistance is pursued through the ambit of the Botswana Exporter Development Programme (BEDP) and the Trade Promotion Programme.

BEDP was revised in 2020 in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with a vision to developing a diversified export-based economy. The programme focuses mostly on capacitating companies to reach export readiness status.

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Inflation up 2.3 percent in May

21st June 2022
Inflation

Prices for goods and services in this country continue to increase, with the latest figures from Statistics Botswana showing that in May 2022, inflation rate rose to 11.9 percent from 9.6 percent recorded in April 2022.

According to Statistics Botswana update released this week, the largest upward contributions to the annual inflation rate in May 2022 came from increase in the cost of transport (7.2 percent), housing, water, electricity, gas & other Fuels (1.4 percent), food & non-alcoholic beverages (1.1 percent) and miscellaneous goods & services (0.8 percent).

With regard to regional inflation rates between April and May 2022, the Rural Villages inflation rate went up by 2.5 percentage points, from 9.6 percent in April to 12.1 percent in May 2022, according to the government owned statistics entity.

In the monthly update the entity stated that the Urban Villages inflation rate stood at 11.8 percent in May 2022, a rise of 2.4 percentage points from the April rate of 9.4 percent, whereas the Cities & Towns inflation rate recorded an increase of 1.9 percentage points, from 9.9 percent in April to 11.8 percent in May.

Commenting on the national Consumer Price Index, the entity stated that it went up by 2.6 percent, from 120.1 in April to 123.2 in May 2022. Statisticians from the entity noted that the transport group index registered an increase of 7.3 percent, from 134.5 in April to 144.2 in May, mainly due to the rise in retail pump prices for petrol and diesel by P1.54 and P2.74 per litre respectively, which effected on the 13th of May 2022.

The food & non-alcoholic beverages group index rose by 2.6 percent, from 118.6 in April 2022 to 121.6 in May 2022 and this came as a result of increase in prices of oils & fats, vegetables, bread & cereal, mineral waters, soft drinks, fruits & vegetables juices, fish (Fresh, Chilled & Frozen) and meat (Fresh, Chilled & Frozen), according to the Statisticians.

The Statisticians said the furnishing, household equipment & routine maintenance group index rose by 1.0 percent, from 111.6 in April 2022 to 112.7 in May 2022 and this was attributed to a general increase in prices of household appliances, glassware, tableware & household utensils and goods & services for household maintenance.

The prices for clothing & footwear group index moved from 109.4 to 110.4, registering a rise of 0.9 percent during the period under review. Bank of Botswana has projected higher inflation in the short term, associated with the likelihood of further increases in domestic fuel prices in response to persistent high international oil prices and added that the possible increase in public service salaries could add also upward pressure to inflation in this country.

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