NFTRC Host Its 1st Indigenous Food Processing Technologies Stakeholder Workshop
The National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) held a Stakeholder Workshop on Indigenous Food Processing Technologies of Botswana on 16th May 2017 in Kanye.
The Theme of the workshop was “Commercialisation of Indigenous Foods – Current Practice, Trends and Opportunities: passing that 100-product landmark with you!”
When giving welcome remarks NFTRC Acting Managing Director Dr Martin Kebakile said that the purpose of the workshop was to enhance, document, validate, standardise and widely disseminate knowledge on Indigenous Food Processing Technologies of Botswana, and explore opportunities for commercialisation.
Dr Kebakile concluded that the communities, private companies and government entities must come on board and talk about the indigenous foods and what can be done to make sure that they benefit Botswana and its people.
The workshop kick-started with Consumer Acceptability Testing of indigenous food products such as senkgwana, morula drink, sorghum muffins, lengangale la legapu, lengangale la lerotse, mogwana fruit leather and mowana drinking yoghurt.
An informative panel discussion was led by Director of the Department of Forestry and Range Resources Dr Mmasera Manthe-Tsuaneng, the Deputy Land Board Secretary of Ngwaketse Land Board Mr Thabo Tshipinare, Director of Research and Innovations Group, EnviroDiesel BW Dr Kebadire Khola Mogotsi, Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) Food Science and Technology Head of Department Dr Rosemary Kobue Lekalake, and the Managing Director of Wild-Foods Botswana Mr Frank Taylor.
The panellists addressed issues of Sustainable harvesting and opportunities for propagation, Land allocation and use, Utilisation of indigenous foods by community-based organisations, Processing of indigenous-raw-material-based foods, and Indigenous foods trade, respectively.
During the panel discussion Dr Mogotsi said that every food we eat today was once upon a time in the wild, therefore we must take out our indigenous foods from the forest and make them known to the world.
Donkey milk farmer Mr Johannes Visagie said that it was high time Batswana stopped indigenous product stereotypes, and focused on promoting local business because that is the only way Botswana can move forward.
On the way forward and closing remarks NFTRC Acting Director of Research and Development Dr Bernard Bulawayo said that before the workshop NFTRC had developed more than seventy (70) products that await uptake by individuals, Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and big companies.
He said that Botswana has enough human- and natural resources, such that Batswana can indeed add value to such natural resources and present them to the world.
He added that the world must be the focus market for local entrepreneurs since Botswana has a much lower population compared to other African Countries.
The workshop attracted various prominent stakeholders who were chosen based on their experience, knowledge, interest and/or role in Botswana’s indigenous foods landscape and value chain; the entities included Brand Botswana, Ministry of Health (MoH), Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA), Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI), Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH), Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), Kalahari Conservation Society and local SMEs focusing on Indigenous food products, such as Kelosika Products, Dobi Foods, Veld Products and Divine Morula.
Some of the workshop participants during Consumer Acceptability Testing of indigenous food products