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BMC still a factor in economic diversification – Tombale

Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) is still a sound alternative to diversify the Botswana economy, the BMC Chief Executive Officer Dr Akolang Tombale revealed.

Having gone through a turbulent period which saw the parastatal making serious  loses, export beef quality issues, envisaged privatization, monopoly issues and feedlots problems inter alia, Tombale who was roped in as ‘Mr fix it’ of BMC problems is upbeat that the Commission is now taking the right course.

Tombale says the realization of such can be traced to the Commission’s 2013 annual report in where it recorded a second turnover of over 1 Billion Pula and annual profit of 74 Million Pula from an operating loss of 224 Million Pula realized in 2012. BMC sustained the same vigour in 2014 reaching an annual throughput of 144,083 cattle against an actual kill of 87,999 realized in 2013.

The CEO attributes the sterling performance to the sound leadership initiatives which included, but not limited to; better management of feedlots, reduction in operating costs, improving plant efficiencies and stock management. In the referenced year, BMC leadership developed a well thought-out three year strategy plan envisaged to end in 2017.

The beef sector plays an important role in the country's economy in terms of foreign exchange earnings, family incomes and employment.

The value of output from the livestock sector is estimated at about 80 percent of the total value of the agriculture and allied sectors, and this is contributed by the beef sector alone.

Tombale said BMC has taken the initiative to continually source new markets, but nothing yet too conclusive or worth sharing with the public.

BMC is currently pursuing retail-groups in Asia to assess the positives of exporting to that market. Nonetheless owing to the 3 year strategic plan, BMC is still determined to increase beef exports to current traditional markets with higher returns.    

BMC still serves traditional markets in the European Union (Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, UK, Germany, Italy, Finland, Portugal, Greece); Asia (Hong-Kong); Africa (Botswana, Namibia, RSA, Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique, Zambia)
Tombale revealed that EU remains the lucrative market, citing the 2013 performance where 16 percent of the volume sold in that market resulted in 41 percent of total revenue, whilst 73.54 percent of volume sold to other markets resulted in 54 percent of total revenue.

“This is motivation for the BMC to increase volumes sold to the EU, given better pricing advantages for our products, and ultimately earn better returns to the Farmer that supplies quality cattle to the BMC,” he said.

 In an effort to diversify its beef products he said BMC is currently exploring servicing new markets especially in the Middle-East and Asia to export a litany of  products  that is fresh beef, Ecco canned products and Beef byproducts.

“There is also consideration of increasing export volumes to recently acquired markets Angola and Zimbabwe, however long-term or even definitive commitments and contracts would need to be formalized  as is arrangement with every market we trade with,” he added.

Tombale noted that for this to be possible, all stakeholders must not repose and throw caution to the wind, or even lower the guard on opportunistic elements which could reverse advances made to the EU and other markets. Increased quality output to the EU market, will ardently make Botswana beef products enter other equally rewarding markets.

A bullish Tombale highlighted that even though the BMC is still collating throughput data for the first quarter of 2015, current incomplete entries have shown Q1 2015 throughput to be at 20,117 against Q1 2014 throughput of 15,767. “The 3 year strategic plan is still a viable intervention to sustain and grow the 2013 performance, but even more set the Commission on a feasible path to recovery,” he said.

Tombale added that BMC is still determined to increase annual throughput to over 200,000 in lieu of the total cattle population count which currently sits in excess of 2 million according to data from Statistics Botswana. However this could be limited amongst many, by supply of eligible cattle for the EU and other markets.

 “This therefore calls for all of us to safeguard our most priced asset, and not fold onto the state of complacency, even when we have a guaranteed market,” he said.

Meanwhile the Commission is still following-up on alternative markets to increase export demands of its products. He said implementation of items flagged for the strategic plan is still on-going and  so is the continuance of the achievements made in acquiring the ‘A’ grade certificate from British Retail Consortium for both Lobatse and Francistown Plants; EU compliance certification for the Lobatse plant; and full compliance of ISO 9001 for all the 3 BMC plants.

Tombale urged farmers are urged to comply with set and agreed EU standards, improve management of their cattle, explore alternatives of improving beef quality without use of hormones and other quality pollutants, ensuring that amenities and resources are availed to curb opportunistic ailments such as Measles, Foot & Mouth Disease.

Tombale said  BMC is doing all in its might, to use its latest business performance as a spur of setting the Commission on a path of recovery. We are also still convinced that we live to the expectations of our brand promise ‘Meat Perfection Defined” by rewarding compliant-cattle suppliers with best prices in the market, but also supplying quality beef to our consumer-market.

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Food prices continue to rise, but at a slower rate

28th November 2022

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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Still doing business the old way?

18th November 2022

It’s time to get business done better with MTN Business Botswana’s ICT Solutions.

Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.

More and more, clients are looking for ways to keep their staff productive in a dynamically changing business environment. Whether your people are working from home, the office or abroad, there is a growing recognition that digitising your operations can offer unprecedented commercial value in flexibility, productivity and growth. This new, digital reality means that it is more important than ever to stay agile – if there is anything that can slow a business down, it is being burdened by othatld technology.

Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.

A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.

Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
MTN’s evolution

For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.

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.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.

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BIE to vitalize the Dignity of Engineers

9th November 2022

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.

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