Connect with us

Choppies on a Buy Botswana quest

Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) listed leading supermarket Choppies has continued to drive the buy Botswana mantra in pushing the Buy Botswana agenda in order to reduce import bills and utilise local suppliers post-coronavirus lockdown.

With a large number of supermarkets and retail outlets all over the country never fully expressing interest in working or collaborating with local suppliers, with most of them opting to outsource resources from outside the country. Two years ago, the Ministry of investment, trade and industry banned the importation of bottled water, fruits, tomatoes, potatoes and oranges, among others in a bid to promote the local trade.

The COVID- 19 pandemic caught us unaware, it has affected the economy and has left a number of business bruised. As one of the leading supermarkets in the country we have decided to work closely with local suppliers in a bid to empower them, keep their business and the economy afloat during this difficult period, said Choppies Ramachandran Ram Ottapathu.

Due to the pandemic a number of suppliers especially the non-tendering ones have been on the receiving end since trade has been affected, this has resulted to some winding up and closing shop. When we transformed from Wayside Supermarket to Choppies our goal and vision was to work with local suppliers because we could see that there was an open gap that needed to be filled immediately. We started off small working with a few suppliers but with the current situation we have to work with as many as we can to save jobs and keep local trade rolling, stated Ram.

He emphasized that the vision for recruiting local suppliers is to create employment, empower locals and create a solid local trading system which will even see local suppliers exporting their products and services in the foreseeable future. Statistics show that with over 200 retail outlets and is working closely with 1226 Batswana suppliers that supply Choppies with different goods and services.

Ram further stated that the boardroom wars that took place last year delayed the process of Choppies recruiting more local suppliers as it dragged for a long period and resulted in the previous board wasting a lot of resources such as engaging a forensic auditor amongst others.

When and if an opportunity surfaces like the one which is being offered by Choppies an entrepreneur like myself or any other would accept it as long as it serves my business in as much as it serves the retailer. There is a light of hopefulness beaming, it could be something to tie our hopes into as entrepreneurs, said a local supplier Opelo Letshwiti od Lesweedy Diaries.

The Choppies supply base comprises of security companies, electrical contractors, farmers, manufactures, civil contractors, refrigeration contractors and IT vendors and equipment suppliers to mention but a few. Rams ideology for business ownership stretches to other countries where he established Choppies, statistics show that regionally a total number of 4653 suppliers have been recruited to supply Choppies outlets in their respective countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Localizing your supply chain represents a tremendous opportunity to help the community and economy as it creates diversity. SMEs tend to benefit hugely from such healthy local and national economic conditions. One would say when Ram conceptualized Choppies he had an ideology for indigenization of business ownership which is why he is working with local suppliers, said an economics professor from the University of Botswana who preferred to remain anonymous.

Continue Reading


Fighting vulture poisoning in KAZA region.

3rd February 2023
As a response to avert vulture poisoning currently going on in Botswana and KAZA region, Birdlife Botswana has collaborated with three other partners (BirdWatch Zambia, BirdLife International & Birdlife Zimbabwe) to tackle wildlife poisoning which by extension negatively affect vulture populations.

The Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Virat Kootshositse has revealed in an interview that the project which is funded by European Union’s main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures’ death and consequently other wildlife species death within the KAZA region.

He highlighted that Chobe district in Botswana has been selected as a pilot site as it has experienced rampant incidents of vulture poisoning for the past few months. In August this year at least 50 endangered white backed vultures were reported dead at Chobe National Park, Botswana after feeding on a buffalo carcass laced with poison.  In November this year again 43 white backed vultures were found dead and two alive after feeding on a zebra suspected to have poisoned.  Other selected pilots’ sites are Kafue in Zambia and Hwange in Zimbabwe.

Kootshositse further explained they have established a national and regional Wildlife Poisoning Committee. He added that as for the national committee they have engaged various departments such as Crop Productions, Agro Chemicals, Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Wildlife and National Parks and other NGOs such as Raptors Botswana to come together and find a long-lasting solution to address wildlife poisoning in Botswana. ‘Let’s have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,’ he stated

He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‘If we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy’, he stated

He added that the regional committee comprises of law enforcement officers such as BDF and Botswana police, village leadership such as Village Development Committee and Kgosi. ‘We need to join hand together and protect the wildlife we have as this will increase our profile for conservation and this alone enhances our visitation and boost our local economy,’ he noted

Kootshositse noted that Birdlife together with DWNP also addressed series of meeting in some villages in the Chobe region recently. The purpose of kgotla meetings was to raise awareness on the conservation and protection of vultures in Chobe West communities.

‘After realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it.  ‘We did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,’ he stated

He noted that next year they are going to have another round of consultations around the Chobe areas and the approach is to engage the community into planning process. ‘Residents should be part of the plan of actions and we are working with farmers committee in the areas to address vulture poisoning in the area, ‘he added

He added that they have found out that some common reasons for poisoning wildlife are farmers targeting predators such as lions in retaliation to killing of their livestock. Another common incident cross border poaching in the Chobe area as poachers will kills an elephant and poison its carcass targeting vultures because of their aerial circling alerting authorities about poaching activities.

Kootshositse noted that in the last cases it was disheartening the incidents occurred three months apart. He added that for the first time they found that some of the body parts of some vultures were missing. He added harvesting of body parts of vultures is not a common practice in Botswana, although it is used in some parts of Africa. ‘We suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,’

Continue Reading


Giant in the making: Everton Mlalazi

3rd February 2023

The music industry is at a point where artists are jostling for space because there are so many aspirants trying to get their big break, thus creating stiff competition.

In the music business it’s about talent and positioning. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right people around you to propel you forward.
Against all odds, Everton Mlalazi has managed to takeover the gospel scene effortlessly.
To him, it’s more than just a breakthrough to stardom, but a passion as well as mission directly appointed by the Lord.

Within a short space of 2 years after having decided to persue a solo career, Mlalazi has already made it into international music scene, with his music receiving considerable play on several gospel television and radio stations in Botswana including other regional stations like Trace Africa, One Gospel, Metro FM in South Africa, Hope FM in Kenya and literally all broadcast stations in Zimbabwe.

It doesn’t only stop there, as the musician has already been nominated 2 times and 2 awards which are Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) best Male artists 2022, StarFM listerners Choice Award, Best Newcomer 2021 and ZIMA Best Contemporary Gospel 2022, MLA awards Best Male artist & Best Gospel Artist 2022.

Everton’s inspiration stems from his ultimate passion and desire to lead people into Godly ways and it seems it’s only getting started.
The man is a gospel artist to put on your radar.

Continue Reading


African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

Continue Reading