Botswana: Len Bakeries Exploits Indigenous Products

Gaborone — Often it is that distinct flavour that adds immeasurably to the taste and distinguishes one' baking from the rest.

Such is true about Len Bakeries' Ms Goitseone Lenyatso who has introduced the Lerotse cake and Morula loaf to the baking industry and cake lovers.

When she started, she did not know how people will react because it was something new which many had never heard or even thought of. However, today Ms Lenyatso sings a different tune as she remains grateful to the overwhelming support from her customers and the growing demand for her products.

Len Bakeries joined the baking industry in 2013. Despite a remarkable impact she has made in the industry, the innovative baker remains adamant that for her, cooking is more of a hobby than a profession.

Besides Lerotse cake and Morula loaf, Ms Lenyatso's products include Len's Buttercream of different flavours among them caramel, vanilla, lemon, chocolate and cream cheese.

The cream which is the first product of its kind in Botswana and the region is the favourite among those who like to bake as it makes the job much easier. The buttercream just like the flavoured cakes has now hit the shop shelves.

The cake and loaf are available at Square-Mart and the buttercreams can be found in Trans Cash and Carry, Square-Mart, and local distributors around the country. Negotiations with other shops are still going on.

Sharing how she got to explore the Lerotse and Morula flavour, Ms Lenyatso said she was encouraged by her husband who had said that because there were other flavours in the market, she could try Lerotse flavour by taking advantage of the abundant melons their mother had harvested this year.

"Honestly I did not know how Batswana would react because it was something new. But the response is very good and encouraging, Batswana love them and the demand is high," said Ms Lenyatso.

She said the recent restrictions on the importation of baked goods by the government had provided an opportunity for local barkers to grow and sustain the market.

She, however, said those in the industry felt discouraged when some Batswana doubted their potential to produce better than what the country had been importing.

"The demand for my products is high and my orders are growing every day ever since after the restrictions," Ms Lenyatso said.

She said baking for business required one to have passion and determination, adding that marketing was equally important just like in any business.

Ms Lenyatso credited social media especially Facebook which had added positively to the growth of her business. She said like any other business, Len Bakeries was also not immune to challenges. She cited financial challenges and rentals which make it difficult for her to expand the business.

Ms Lenyatso, however, said she was working on a business plan with the intention to submit the application to CEDA for financial assistance. "The response to my products gave me an idea of what is in the market and it helped in shaping the business," she said

She said due to the demand, she was currently working with five people. She also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic was a blessing in disguise to the business as most of the products were discovered during the lockdown.

"I believe many Batswana have talent and ability to produce and supply goods/services of high standards to both local and international market. All that is needed is support," she said.

Ms Lenyatso urged local businesses to support each other by using local products so as to expand the local market.

Source : BOPA

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