Freshmark Retail Holdings Botswana that trades as Shoprite has recently opened a distribution plant in Phakalane.
Trading as the group’s fruit and vegetable procurement, buying and distribution arm, it supplies fresh produce in fruits and vegetables to the group stores within Botswana, and most of its outlets in other parts of the continent.
According to Freshmark general manager, Clint Jackson, most of the group’s fresh produce requirements are sourced directly from local producers.
“This practice reduces transport and packaging costs, extensive effort goes into establishing a local network of suppliers and this objective is followed through across the continent as the Shoprite Group expands into Africa,” he said.
Currently one of the largest purchasers of fresh produce in Africa, Freshmark also imports fruits and vegetables when needed to ensure a wider variety and continuity of traditionally seasonal fresh produce.
Freshmark operates its own network of distribution centres and has production contracts with over 1,114 growers whereby almost 95% of its fresh produce is sourced locally in support of the communities they operate in. The group also plays a key role in equipping emerging farmers with the knowledge and skills to produce and meet international standards.
Further the group said it was in touch
“Food security is a global priority and we’d like to play our part in contributing to this. This distribution centre presents numerous opportunities for increased farming and food production as well as giving a much-needed boost to our horticultural sector,” he said.
“This development will give a much-needed boost in reducing the country’s fruit and vegetable import bill.”
On her part the minister of investment, trade and industry Bogolo Kenewendo said they have embarked on a strategic journey to close borders for some products.
“For example, with so many water bottling and purifying plants in Botswana, it only made economic and business sense to regulate imports from other countries,” said Kenewendo. “The implementation and active enforcement of these policies purely exist to regulate and manage the rate of imports into the country particularly in industries that have the potential to carry themselves such as the agricultural industry,” she added.