Food Processing Industry Feasible

| May 13, 2015

Imposing colossal structures with bellowing clouds of smoke emanating from chimneys into the skies, teeming with sweat-breaking men and women clad in industrial gear is the general picture that comes to mind every time one thinks about an industry.

Dr Minah Mosele, a Food Scientist at National Food Technology Research Centre (NARFTC) said the centre has gone all out to demystify this perception with the establishment of the four test-beds of beverages, milling, horticulture and meat.

“People always think about huge plants when you talk about food processing industry. But, you can do processing even at small scale level with the right equipment,” she said.

Born-out of the Centre’s quest to upscale research output of products and product development, the test-beds will provide a platform for training through NFTRC skills transfer program to give trainees basic skills in the processing of products at business entry stage.

The test beds, according to the Food Scientist, will also offer entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop business cases for the feasibility of their products before they can even apply for financing.

Financiers, she said always want to put their money on a viable product and as such the basic training NFTRC offers trainees will come in handy.

“Trainees products would have tasted the market and the Centre NARFTC will also attest to the fact that such an individual had trained with us.

Results from sensory analysis booths that we do pitch in various events so that people may taste our products and give us feedback help convince potential financiers of the viability of a product,” she said.

She said the test bed for the beverage line particularly bottled water will help Botswana meet high demand for the commodity.

Also, she said recent recalls of bottled water suggests the right processes of producing bottled water is still at its infant stage.

She was hopeful that the youth will particularly jump to the opportunity and save the country P342 million that goes towards purchase of bottled water annually.

Another mini plant to be established is that of Horticulture, which Dr Mosele pointed out has a great potential saying it will be used to process low grade produce from the farms.

The mini plant is another facility which will be used to process meat at commercial standard, for research purposes and gathering of information on consumer habits towards meat products, to augment products range and citizens participation in the meat sector.

The last facility is that of milling whose primary target is sorghum as the staple food in Botswana.

Besides employment creation, Dr Mosele noted facilities will have indirect spin-off effects on other food processing related industries such as packaging, trade and many others.

“The food import bill will be reduced and this will result in wealth creation and ultimately eradicate absolute poverty from within our midst as a nation,” she said.

Although NFTRC buy a bulk of their equipment from India for the test-beds it is a collaboration of some sort in that Indian companies supply and send its engineers along to impart skills and transfer knowledge to Batswana.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Business & Finance

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