SELEBI-PHIKWE: The horticultural processing plant in Selebi-Phikwe, NAPRO is appealing for government support to buy its processed products.
Since their products hit the market in September 2016 there has never been any procurement from government.
Their customers currently are a few retailers and individuals. NAPRO was funded with P10.9 million by the Office of the President through the Poverty Eradication Fund to start up while its operational costs are funded by NAFTEC.
In an interview with Mmegi, the chief executive officer Ramogoma Kaisara appealed to government to procure from NAPRO to assist the plant to run effectively and be able to assist more farmers and curb post harvest losses.
He explained that if their processed products cannot be bought at a satisfactory rate then farmers would not benefit much from the plant.
“We have visited a lot of government departments and institutions, made presentations but none of them have come forward. We know that government institutions use products like purees that we produce here hence they have to procure from us,” he said.
NAPRO also continues to experience some resistance from the market because it is difficult to change customers’ mindsets to the new products.
Kaisara explained that they have little resources to advertise the products fully. Another challenge in securing customers is that some retailers have long decision making processes and in some cases decisions are made outside the country.
He said that their food related quality management system keeps them in the market.
There is also inconsistency in raw
Kaisara urged framers to do their best to supply their horticultural products in order to fully benefit from NAPRO.
“Farmers complain that onion has a longer cycle. When we initially did consultations onion was sufficient but they are demoralised by some inconsistencies. The plant also has not reached its full potential,” he said.
NAPRO has also suspended its contract farming initiative because the market they had anticipated did not materialise. He said they want to establish the market first and increase the retailers they are supplying.
“Farmers should not despair because NAPRO is growing and will soon reach its full potential and they must strive to cover all the product range that we want so that we do not have to source other products from outside the region,” he said.
Kaisara added that they are continuously expanding their retailing and they have reached as far as Jwaneng and their aim is to reach out to the whole country once their distribution models are well in place.
“We also want food caterers to get their supply from us because we also supply in bulk. All they need to do is to place orders,” he added.