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 Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.