BDC invests in Milk Afric project

BDC's equity injection has brought hope that Milk Afric is not destined for failure
BDC's equity injection has brought hope that Milk Afric is not destined for failure

LOBATSE: The Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) has invested an undisclosed amount of money to become a partner in Milk Afric project a year after the dairy plant failed to start operations.

Lobatse Town Council (LTC) deputy town clerk, Oganne Gontse said the development brings fresh hope that the Milk Afric project is not destined for failure. 

Gontse said agreements have been reached with the new partner, but said the monetary value injected was still confidential.

“We have a new partner on board at Milk Afric being BDC. We have managed to reach agreements, but I am not in a position to share the details in terms of the amount of money the corporation has injected because I have not consulted the third parties,” he said.

Gontse further said progress is now notable on the ground and the council has approved milking parlour drawings recently. 

“There is notable progress on the ground, milking parlour drawings have been recently approved and they will soon be constructed. The students who went to study the field further in the US have returned,” he said. 

The officer further said the council still has rapport with the project director Phil Matibe dismissing reports that their working relationship has soured.

“We are still working intact with the project director. In fact, we have never had a glitch.

“We only had differences with some of the farmers around the area where the plant is located. There were three cases before the courts and they have all been dealt with and Milk Afric won all the cases other than that we are hopeful that by 2020, the project will be functioning,” Gontse said.

The project is worth P120 million and is expected to create 250 jobs in its first two-and-half years.  Milk Afric, which has signed a processing agreement with Parmalat, has also roped in the LTC as they entered into a public private partnership deal through the leasing of a dairy farm for 25 years.

Earlier this year, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Sadique Kebonang also said during a kgotla meeting that the project has benefited a P50 million cash injection from the government.

Editor's Comment
A Call For Government To Save Jobs

The minister further shared that from the 320 businesses that notified the Commissioner of Labour about their plans to retrench, 20 were acceded to, which resulted in 204 workers being retrenched during April 2020 and July 2021.The retrenchments were carried out while the SoE was in place, meaning the companies that succeeded must have had solid reasons, despite the strict SOE regulations imposed on businesses to not retrench. We are left with...

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