Milling company, Bokomo increased its effort in the direct-sourcing of raw materials to empower local farmers, a move aimed at minimising imports.
The miller added the move is also another way to lead the country towards becoming self-reliant in food production and thus creating jobs and cutting the import bill.
Bokomo’s chief executive officer (CEO), Werner de Beer told Business Monitor they currently use raw materials produced by local farmers in their milling process. The company procures wheat and maize directly from local farmers and the Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB).
“Local farmers need to produce more as we want to cut on the raw material importation,” de Beer said. “We strive by all means to use raw materials produced by local farmers in our milling process. This is in line with our aim to empower Batswana.”
He added that as a company operating in Botswana, it is their responsibility to ensure that their business benefits the various stakeholders and the communities they serve.
According to the CEO, local produce cannot meet their needs as the local production of maize is around 10,000 tonnes per annum, which is lower than the 20,000 tonnes that Bokomo demands per month.
BAMB has a storage capacity in excess of 100,000 metric, 85,000mt of which is of silo space at Pitsane, Francistown and Pandamatenga. The rest is of warehouses.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security pointed out that during the past ploughing period, local farmers managed to produce 275,000 tonnes of cereal, which is 52% of what the country needs.
Moving forward, de Beer said Bokomo aspires for continuous product development and innovation while also maintaining satisfactory standards in existing products.
Bokomo was established in 2003 with the main focus of producing maize meal, flour and packaging sugar. The CEO said like every other entity, Bokomo has had its fair share of business challenges, but against all odds, the organisation has stood the test of time.