Phikwe food processing plant nears completion

Plans to commission the first-ever horticultural processing plant in Botswana are at an advanced stage.

This developmental project, established under the Poverty Eradication Programme, will create markets for horticultural farmers in the SPEDU region, including backyard garden beneficiaries. The Selebi Phikwe horticultural plant, which will be operated by Naftec Investments (Pty) Ltd, a company wholly owned by NFTRC, is expected to come alive end of April 2015..

In readiness for this and to create the necessary hype and excitement, National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) successfully organised and hosted a pre-Open Day seminar and Open Day which was held at Bosele Hotel and at St. Anne Adam’s Park, Selebi-Phikwe mid last year.

The event, which was under the theme, “Processing Horticultural Produce for a Food Secure Botswana” was held in collaboration with SPEDU.

Senior Research Scientist Lovemore Marire said the SPEDU region was identified as the ideal site for the processing plant due to its proximity to the most grown horticultural produce especially around the Tuli Block farms, and the need to diversify the economy of Selebi-Phikwe.  Marire said the Central District alone accounts for over 50% of the national horticultural produce (2013/14 season) of which about 70% comes from the Tuli Block area.

He said the horticultural processing plant would add value to 10-12% of the five top most produced vegetables, namely, tomatoes, onions, carrots, beetroots and cabbage, to mitigate the interval seasonal losses of the excess produce, as well as providing for sustained agricultural output through a ready receptacle for the horticultural output that cannot be absorbed by the fresh market.

He said the plant would be processing the excess produce into some value added products that have a much longer shelf life such as pickled and dried products (beetroot, cabbage, carrots, peppers, onions, mixed vegetables) tomato puree and sauces.

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