Botswana: Talana Farms Springs Back to Life

Tuli Block — Talana Farms in the Tuli Block has bounced back to life and the new owners have put up a P67 million investment of high capacity storage silos to increase the capacity and quality of grain storage.

New owners, Kwenantle Farm, which is the baby of Ms Lembie Mmereki and her South African counterparts were given a 15-year lease by Botswana Development Corporation in 2016 after the company that operated the farms liquidated.

With only three years in operation, the farm is operating at almost full production with fields including 150 hectares of white maize, 350 hectares of sugar beans, two hectares of tomatoes and butternuts and 10 hectares of Lucerne expected to be harvest next month.

Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Ms Bogolo Kenewendo, who officially opened the high capacity storage silos on May 17, commended the directors of Kwenantle Farm for their significant contribution to the economy.

She said their efforts would go towards ensuring that the country becomes self-sufficient in food production, especially that they went an extra mile to include high capacity storage silos.

"When they took over the farm three years ago many felt that they would not succeed as they were not given production limits. Less than three years later, they proved it is possible to run this farm successfully and they have shown their commitment to this project by going a step further to add silos to the project," said the minister,

Ms Kenewendo further said the growth of the farm was not about the profits to the farmers, but the creation of employment to the local communities and contribution to the production capacity of the entire country.

She encouraged a harmonious relationship between the workers and employers, urging the employer to always ensure that the livelihoods of workers were well taken care of.

Kwenantle is soon to make an investment of approximately P15m towards the irrigation of Thune River, where they have been awarded 440ha, 100ha of which will be for the communities of Mothabaneng, Mathathane and Lentswelemoriti.

The Silos are expected to accommodate 10 000 tonnes of maize that will be produced here and surrounding areas annually.

For his part, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Mr Fidelis Molao also commended the farmers for ensuring food security in the country.

He said the national demand for cereal and horticulture currently stands at 300 000 and 112 000 metric tonnes respectively.

He said it was therefore commendable that production levels in this project were at 4 850 000 and 150 000 Metric tonnes of cereal and horticulture respectively, adding that this was way above the average anticipated production level for a single project.

He said his ministry wanted to see increased storage capacity to 250 000 metric tonnes in strategic areas, thus the construction of these silos by Kwenantle farmers would contribute immensely towards meeting this endeavour.

He said his ministry had noted that government needed to ensure food security by providing affordable water and electricity for agriculture.

Mr Molao further said government was committed to fostering a private sector-led transformation of agriculture with a focus on diversification and economic growth via commercially viable initiatives.

Ms Mmereki thanked the trade ministry for facilitating the project.

She also thanked Kwenantle staff for having contributed to the success of the project, adding that the intention was to increase permanent staff from 91 to 120 by the end of the year.

Kwenantle found only 10 staff members, who were retained by the liquidator when they took over the farm.

Source : BOPA

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