Botswana: Lobatse to Be Meat, Leather Zone

Moshupa — Plans are underway to establish Lobatse as a special economic zone focusing specifically on meat and leather beneficiation, says Mr Jayson Sechele.

Mr Sechele, who is Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) acting director, was briefing Assistant Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security Ms Beauty Manake during a tour of Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) recently.

Mr Sechele said a master plan which would serve as a guiding tool was expected to be completed end of this month.

"Our interest as SEZA is to ensure that the value chain concept is addressed, and making sure that the number of cattle, goats, sheep and chickens are increased," he said.

Mr Sechele said the increase would mean that fodder production and related commodities farmers also increased.

In addition, he said prevailing anti-market practices would be addressed.

"We should be clear about our way of doing business through the production of organic beef under socially acceptable conditions," he said.

Mr Sechele expressed optimism on the potential exploration of processing and beneficiation opportunities at BMC.

BMC, he said, had abundant opportunities that included canning of products such as beef, pet food, tannery, leather processing and production of organic manure as well as blood meal and offal.

Mr Sechele said all meat products value chains could help create employment and help in reviving the town.

He said there was need for close collaboration between stakeholders and BMC and understanding of which raw materials were of high value that investors could venture into.

"We continue to build the business path for potential investors whom we want to attract into the zone," he said.

Mr Sechele said the food and leather processing project which was being undertaken by the Local Enterprise Authority was currently at an advanced stage.

He said the plan was to have the raw materials processed in Lobatse so that investors could make finished products within the zone.

Responding, BMC chief strategy officer, Mr Brian Dioka said the organisation was ready to apply itself to the mentioned developments.

He said there were abundant opportunities in cannery pointing out that the plant was currently not automated.

On one of the by-products, he said there was regression as only salting of hides was being done.

Treating of hides was also a value chain opportunity that could be ventured into, he said.

Public and private organisations were invited to appreciate BMC and identify opportunities that can be explored in the value chain.

Source : BOPA

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