FRANCISTOWN: At a time when no one has time to care whether tuckshops are businesses that need assistance to survive or not, a local non-profit initiative has come to the rescue.
Tuck Shop Assist (TSA) programme, a brainchild of City Sky Consult, aims to assist local tuckshops weather the harsh and uncompromising challenges impeding the growth of small businesses in the country.
The company’s executive services director Joconia Malunga recently told Monitor Business that TSA was established in 2017 as a rescue solution for indigenous tuckshops.
Malunga added that the programme is a community development and non-profit initiative dedicated at promoting and supporting Botswana’s tuckshops in their endeavour to offer nutritious, hygienic and economically viable fast food services.
He said that so far they have over 15 volunteers across the country who are interested in servicing the program through recruiting subscribers for the initiative.
Malunga also disclosed that they have over 30 members who have already subscribed to the TSA scheme.
“We are the lead support agency for tuckshops in Botswana. We offer quality services in collaboration with key industry professionals, financial institutions, regulatory bodies, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers,” he said.
Malunga highlighted that they are negotiating credit lines with retailers and wholesalers on behalf of their subscribers. He said that credit lines will be one way of resuscitating tuck shops and help turn them into sustainable operations enterprises.
He said that TSA programme intends to introduce Mopako card, which would be used by its members as a ‘Standing Offer Arrangement (to obtain credit)’ for purchase of grocery and uniform items with major market players such as Choppies, Sefalana, Jumbo, Jet and Cash Bazaar.
He added that the list of nominated suppliers would be expanded as they continue to close deals on behalf of the tuck shop community. He noted that they are also offering membership to tuckshop associations, which means retailers/suppliers and manufacturers will now be able to trust and offer them (tuckshops) goods as well as services on a more controlled and centralised platform.
“We are in the process of approaching some schools that operate canteens, and working with BOBS and government health departments to encourage healthy eating habits at schools as well as local tuck shops since the issue of obesity and poor eating habits is a challenge in the country,” he said.
Malunga said that their programme offers a variety of quality and competence training courses to tuckshop staff on food safety, menu planning and pricing in collaboration with Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI). According to Malunga TSA programme members are granted an 18 months membership for P330.