Nation Food Technology Research Center Commercial Arm (NAPRO) has embarked on a quest to take their products to the people, WeekendPost has learnt. Just recently, they introduced a new tomato sauce and a range of canned vegetables brands in minor retail outlets.
According to NAPro Sales & Marketing Manager Metlha Lolo Mangwane , the roll out of the products, ‘Harvest Haven’ which was done in September was a preliminary shelving to familiarize people with the product and get their feedback, “The minor retailers did not require cumbersome decision making processes to stock our products,” she said.
Mangwane explained that going further the “Harvest Haven” brand will be robustly taken to Batswana through various marketing strategies, she told WeekendPost that brand activation exercises are at advanced stage as radio jingles are already on the airwaves of some local Radio Stations, adding that other media platforms will be further explored to create brand awareness, citing a television advert that is expected to run next year January on Botswana Television.
“The on-going brand activation activities such as tasting sessions in metropolitan areas like your malls and your bus ranks will familiarize the public with Harvest Haven products,” she said. “We commenced last week here in Phikwe and this week (19th -23rd) Harvest Haven was in Francistown where the reception was so amazing.”
The NAPro youthful executive indicated that the brand participated in the recent Botswana Investment Trade Centre (BITC) organized Global Expo of which she observed the reception was very promising considering the international standards of the show. “The expo was one of the major platforms NAPro has participated in and there was a positive response as the products were sold out and more enquiries and orders followed thereafter regarding the products.” She added that this reflected the excitement Batswana have about the locally manufactured and processed food products.
Currently, NAPro’s Harvest Haven products are available in Selibe Phikwe, Serule, Topisi, Mahalapye, Mogapinyana, Kgagodi, Tati Siding, Francistown and Kanye, the plant executives observe that through aggressive marketing and promotional activities, the products will be appreciated nationwide.
For his part NAPRO Public Relations Officer Keontse Mothibedi said the company is in negotiations with major retail stores for listing, adding that with some stores the listing process is almost complete.
He told WeekendPost that a local retail chain store may start stocking their products as soon as January 1 2017 as the talks are already complete, “Once we are on the shelves of that FAST MOVING CONSUMER GOODS (FMCG) power house, we would have penetrated the local market,” he said, noting that the name of the retail outlet will be disclosed soon through national activations and media publications.
Keontse also revealed sketchy information that a South African founded retailer has expressed interest in purchasing their products. “The problem is the decision making processes are made in South Africa, it takes time and turns out to be cumbersome with the Bureau of Standards that side, and other trade regulation tussles.” However to address the problem Keontse revealed that Investment & Trade gurus BITC has taken over the matter to assist in the processing. “We have engaged Botswana Investment & Trade Center (BITC) to assist us with export and trade undertaking since they have the acumen,” he said.
NAPRO processes onions to canned pickles, fully nurtured tomatoes to tomato sauce and different vegetables to canned pickled atchar amongst other products. The National Agro Processing plant is an investment by the Botswana Government through the National Food Technology Research Centre (NAFTRC) Investment Company, and its mandate is to increase the shelf life of locally produced horticultural products by processing them into sauces, pickles, canned and different packaging models.
The Plant started operation in May 27 this year and currently the plant processes about 32 tonnes of tomato. Positioned strategically in the SPEDU region, NAPRO now forms an integral part in the Selibe Phikwe revitalization strategy under the Agriculture and food processing banner following the dissolution of BCL Limited which was the economic heartbeat of Selibe Phikwe and the entire eastern region. However the plant which had a capital injection of over P100 million from the Office of the President decried depleting funds and thus lack of finances for robust marketing and possibly expansion of the processing plant for more job creation.
Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC) has announced that its 3rd Francistown Marathon will be held on Saturday 20th April 2024 at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. The BTC Francistown Marathon is officially recognised by World Athletics and a Comrades Marathon Qualifier will offer race categories ranging from 42.2km, 21.1 km, 10km, 5km fun run, 5km peace run for children and has introduced a 5km and 10km categories for wheelchairs athletics.
BTC also used this opportunity to announce beneficiaries who received donations from proceeds made from the 2nd BTC Francistown Marathon that was held on April 23rd 203. BTC donated a play area, plastic chairs and wooden tables for pupils worth a total of thirty eight thousand, one hundred and three pula, fifty thebe each (P38, 103.50) to Monarch Primary School, Tatitown Primary School, Mahube Primary School and Gulubane Primary School. Ditladi and Boikhutso clinics each received a donation of benches, television sets and 10, 000 litre water tanks worth thirty seven thousan, eight hundred and ninety eight pula (P 37, 898.00). Additionally, BTC also donated seventy thousand pula (P70,000.00) to their marathon technical partner, Francistown Athletics Club (FAC) which will be used for daily operations as well as to purchase equipment for the club.
The BTC Francistown Marathon aligns seamlessly with BTC’s corporate social investment programme, administered through the BTC Foundation. This programme is a testament to BTC’s dedication to community development, focusing on key areas such as health promotion. The marathon, now in its third year, not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also channels all proceeds to carefully chosen charities as part of BTC’s commitment to impactful and sustainable projects.
Speaking at the launch, the BTC Managing Director Mr Anthony Masunga stated that the marathon underscores BTC’s commitment to community upliftment and corporate social investment. He stated that “the annual event which has been in existence since 2016, having taken a break due to the covid and other logistical issues, is instrumental to the economic upliftment of the city of Francistown”. He congratulated all the beneficiaries for having been nominated to receive the donations, adding that “the donation of proceeds from the 2023 marathon aims to highlight BTC’s commitment and heart for Batswana and our continued impact in the different industries”.
He further stated that through this marathon, “we demonstrate our steadfast commitment to having a good influence on our communities, this event is a manifestation of our dedication to promoting education and a healthier, more active society”. He concluded by stating that “BTC looks forward to another successful marathon that will leave a lasting positive influence on the greater Francistown community and the country at large” he said.
Giving welcome remarks, the Councillor for Donga, Honourable Morulaganyi Mothowabarwa stated that “he is ecstatic that BTC is collaborating with the City of Francistown on yet another installment of the Marathon”. He continued to offer his support to BTC to enable this marathon to continue over the coming years, stating that the “CSI element is a welcome development that helps empower our communities”, he said.
The 3rd BTC Francistown Marathon is officially open for registrations and athletes may use the following platforms to register and pay; through Smega by dialling *173# and choosing opton 5, then choose Option 3 for the Francistown marathon, at any BTC store or by visiting the BTC website and clicking on the BTC Francistown Marathon and choosing the relevant options.
Thapelo Letsholo, Member of Parliament for Kanye North, delivered a moving speech at the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day commemoration, praising President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption. Letsholo highlighted the importance of embracing digitalization in governance as a crucial step in curbing corrupt practices.
According to Letsholo, the implementation of digital systems in government services can significantly reduce direct interactions between citizens and officials, which often serve as fertile grounds for corruption. By minimizing these opportunities for illicit activities, the efficiency and transparency of public services can be enhanced. Letsholo pointed to Estonia’s success in digital governance as an example, where public services have become more transparent, accessible, and efficient.
The MP commended President Masisi’s commitment to digitalization and E-Governance, emphasizing that it aligns with global anti-corruption standards. He called for full support and active participation from all sectors to ensure the success of this initiative.
Letsholo also stressed the importance of improving detection methods and refining whistleblower laws to effectively combat corruption. He highlighted the unseen and unspoken facets of corruption as its lifelines, emphasizing the need for robust detection mechanisms and a system that encourages and protects whistleblowers.
Addressing the societal role in fighting corruption, Letsholo focused on the crucial role of everyday citizens and civil servants who often witness corrupt practices firsthand. He acknowledged the existing reluctance to report corruption due to the perceived risks of repercussions. To change this narrative, Letsholo advocated for creating an environment where staying silent is deemed more detrimental than speaking out. He called for a cultural shift where the potential benefits of exposing corruption outweigh the risks, ensuring that whistleblowers are protected and feel secure in coming forward.
Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a system that not only detects and reports corruption but also supports those who stand against it. He expressed hope that under President Masisi’s digitalization initiatives, the future of governance in Botswana will be characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability. Letsholo’s speech resonated with the sentiments of hope and determination that permeated the commemoration, emphasizing the need for unity in the fight against corruption.
In summary, Letsholo lauded President Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption, highlighting its potential to curb corrupt practices, enhance efficiency and transparency in public services, and align with global anti-corruption standards. He emphasized the importance of improving detection methods, refining whistleblower laws, and creating an environment where speaking out against corruption is encouraged and protected. Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a future characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability in governance.
FaR Property Company (FPC) Limited, a property investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, has recently announced its exceptional financial results for the year 2023. The company’s property asset value has risen to P1.47 billion, up from P1.42 billion in the previous year.
FPC has a diverse portfolio of properties, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential properties in Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The company owns a total of 186 properties, generating rental revenues from various sectors. In 2023, the company recorded rental revenues of P11 million from residential properties, P62 million from industrial properties, and P89 million from commercial properties. Overall, the company’s total revenues increased by 9% to P153 million, while profit before tax increased by 22% to P136 million, and operating profit increased by 11% to P139 million.
One notable achievement for FPC is the low vacancy rate across its properties, which stands at only 6%. This is particularly impressive considering the challenging trading environment. The company attributes this success to effective lease management and the leasing of previously vacant properties in South Africa. FPC’s management expressed satisfaction with the results, highlighting the resilience of the company in the face of ongoing macroeconomic challenges.
The increase in profit before tax can be attributed to both an increase in income and effective control of operating expenses. FPC managed to achieve these results with fewer employees, demonstrating the company’s efficiency. The headline earnings per linked unit also saw an improvement, reaching 26.92 thebe, higher than the previous year.
Looking ahead, FPC remains confident in its competitiveness and growth prospects. The company possesses a substantial land bank, which it plans to develop strategically as opportunities arise. FPC aims for managed growth, focusing on consumer-driven developments and ensuring the presence of supportive tenants. By maintaining this approach, the company believes it can sustainably grow its property portfolio and remain competitive in the market.
In terms of the macroeconomic environment, FPC noted that inflation rates are decreasing towards the 3% to 6% range approved by the Bank of Botswana. This is positive news for the company, as it hopes for further decreases in interest rates. However, the fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events such as the war in Ukraine and oil output reductions by Russia and other Middle Eastern countries, continue to impact businesses, including some of FPC’s tenants.
FPC’s property portfolio includes notable assets such as a shopping mall in Francistown with Choppies Hyper as the anchor tenant, Borogo Mall located on the A33 main road near the Kazungula ferry crossing, and various industrial and commercial properties in Gaborone leased to Choppies, Senn Foods, and Clover Botswana. The company also owns a shopping mall in Mafikeng and Rustenburg in South Africa.
The majority of FPC’s properties, 85%, are located in Botswana, followed by 12% in South Africa and 3% in Zambia. With its strong financial performance, competitive position, and strategic land bank, FPC is well-positioned for continued growth and success in the property market.