The Selebi Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) which recently received over P600 million from the European Union Re-employment fund under the Phikwe Economic Revitalization strategy is determined to surge despite the negative reports on the organisation.
Last week Tuesday, (November 29th) SPEDU commenced a 12.8 million pula Motloutse farms electrification project. Speaking at the project ground breaking ceremony in Bobonong, European Union Policy Advisor, Kartenger Hangerman revealed that the EU reemployment fund is an aid from the Union which targets regions with dependence on the unreliable Mining Sector, with the aim of diversifying the region’s economy.
“This project will power over 800 hectares of agricultural land, improving production efficiency which was previously hindered by high production costs due to use of diesel powered water pump generators,” she said.
Hangerman further observed that pumping irrigation water from Motloutse River using fuel was very expensive for farmers, noting that with the electricity at the farmer’s disposal, turning SPEDU region into the bread basket of Botswana will be very much achievable.
Motloutse region farmers Association Representative, Moffat Mothudi added that for him, before pausing production he once quantified his profits to be only few hundreds of pula per annum due to fuel powered irrigation, something which was not good for business.
“In the past before I stopped production, all my proceeds would be consumed by diesel costs, I would make losses and the irrigation processes was cumbersome as I sometimes failed to purchase the fuel, now with electricity connected I will just press and my plants get watered,” he explained with delight.
The National Agro Processing plant Operations Manager, Ramogoma Kaisara could not hide his excitement about the development, observing that the project is anticipated to present a pool of raw material supply for their processing hence increase in their production output.
“We are currently just processing about 32 tonnes of tomato a month, that is a low intake ,and our view is that when the SPEDU region farmers are resourced and farming is enhanced by projects such as this we will definitely expand our plant and take in more raw materials,’’ he said.
Kaisara told WeekendPost that once the project is complete as well as many other enhancement undertakings by SPEDU, the plant will be able to asses supply availability and inform plant expansion better.
The Project, which is expected to be complete by January next year is under the contractual management of Botswana Power Corporation and BPC Project Manager, Thuto Mongalenyana revealed that there were no doubts of planned completion timeframe, “We will erect 17 kilometer line first and then get to mini dropping into farms and by the end of the year over 50 % will be done, completing the remaining by end of January 2017, we are in good progress.’’
According to SPEDU Director for Strategic Projects, Mr Jazenga Uezesa the electrification is designed in such a way that it will be very easy and less expensive for farmers to drop electricity into their plantations, “If we only provided the straight forward power line, the farmers would drop at a total cost over P500 000, but we designed the power connection in such a way that farmers will only drop at a cost of less than 15 000.’’
The project will power 44 horticultural fields along Motloutse River in the SPEDU region and is one of the investments under the much anticipated Selebi Phikwe Revitalization Strategy following the sudden closure of BCL mine.
Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
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As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
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Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.
The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.
Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.
“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.
He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.
Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.
“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.
He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.
He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc
“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran
Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.
“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.
Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.
“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.
He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.
“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams
He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .
Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.
“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.