The Minister of Investment Trade and Industry, Vincent Seretse has urged entrepreneurs to produce high quality products that deserve to sell in the market.
Seretse said this on Friday as he toured the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) incubators at Pilane and Glen Valley.
He assured LEA clients that local consumption is guaranteed under government’s objective of local procurement. “Those who are into food processing, packaging and the product’s shelf-life is very crucial. Always produce fresh product that will not be hazardous to the consumer and is of high quality matching the market standards. Clinical standards in food processing is higher than any consumer.”
As an entrepreneur, Seretse emphasised that one should be driven by passion and not profits as most entrepreneurs are seen doing and at the end the projects’ success is short-lived.
As he toured Pilane incubators, Seretse highly emphasised that when one has passion they have the perseverance to live longer in the business. At the Glen Valley incubator, the minister indicated that the country needs specialised agriculture to complement the import bill which remains high.
Botswana is capable of producing a wide variety of agriculture products and the market is available, the minister pointed out. Entrepreneurs are urged to have the perseverance to know that agriculture has medium to long term benefits. He urged LEA to utilise the 25 hectare land to produce more variety so that his ministry at the same time could close for imports.
One beneficiary Thebeyame Jacob who started producing tomato in October 2017, indicated that the project needs dedication and perseverance as it is labour intensive.
Although he appreciated LEA’s intervention, Jacob called on other stakeholders such as the financiers to come on board in assisting the SMMEs for their survival and be able to feed the country.
He adds that “We can do it as entrepreneurs, the challenges we have is irrigation system and fertilisers they are very expensive. Our parliament only considers assisting Foot and Mouth Disease affected farmers and forget about other farmers of the horticulture sector. Horticulture farmers are left behind in getting any assistance on subsidised pesticides.”
LEA clients also want to be taken for benchmarking exercises so that learn new technologies.
SMMEs challenges had always ranged from access to finance, market access, amongst other major challenges; however, LEA Chief Executive Officer, Racious Moatshe highlighted the need to find proper collaborative models to make a millage in SMMEs. “We are also looking to use every opportunity to utilise the existing infrastructure that we have for our clients,” says the newly appointed CEO who recently took the reins from Dr Tebogo Matome.
The Pilane incubator nurtures enterprises that produce varied products and services including food processing, chemical production and textiles.
The Glen Valley incubator produces hands on training in different aspects of horticulture enterprise management under protected environment. Currently the trainees are into tomato production.
The purpose of the tours was to appreciate the work being carried out at the incubators by the authority, while at the same time meeting incubated clients regarding training and interventions received.