NFTRC interacts at VCF Africa Botswana – International Agribusiness Summer School and Conference
National Food Technology Research (NFTRC) attended International Agribusiness Summer School and Conference, on the 2nd of February 2018 in Gaborone organised by Value Chain Farming (VCF) Africa Botswana-an agribusiness consortium of two Italian Companies and Longreach International (Pty) Ltd (Botswana).
The summer school and conference attracted about 300 attendants of which almost 200 of them are registered members (farmers) of VCF Africa Botswana and the main objectives of the Summer School and Conference was to provide information on emerging external trends and current issues that impact the future of the agriculture industry.
NFTRC Assistant Public Relations Officer Ms Kelebogile Mafoko presented the centre’s mandate, products and services and also shared the contacts and Facebook page with the attendants for further interactions.
The farmers shown keen interest on nutritional, safety and shelf life analysis indicating that it will be their next step after being trained on various food processing courses that were scheduled for them at Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) the following day.
Mr Stefano Baldi an Italian Agricultural Entrepreneur, through Skype presentation shared information about transforming Botswana’s agribusiness landscape and connecting it into a global market.
He started by telling the story of John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United State of America who was so passionate and ambitious about going to the moon, and expressed that they chose to go to the moon in a decade despite all the challenges they could foresee, but because of the team work and commitment they ended up going to the moon in six years’ time.
He added that the same applies to Botswana, no matter how dry the land is Batswana must start believing that they will transform agriculture into integrated farming, it may look like it will take decades but with team work and commitment it may also take some few years.
He continued that the outside world can bring tools, skills and experts to Botswana but its only Batswana who can make sure that agriculture is transformed through determination and implementation.
The various speakers encouraged the young farmers to be more involved in agribusiness, to stop depending on rain fed agriculture and start using the abundant underground water found in Botswana. They were further advised to understand and focus on the demand of their markets and lastly to take expert skills and tools seriously.
The Managing Director of VCF Africa Botswana Ms Tshepiso Ntshobotho concluded that World Bank reports that in 2030, 80% of the world food will be coming from Africa therefore Batswana farmers must make sure that they start being part of that 80% now.
VCF Africa Botswana –supports the commercialisation of small scale farmers through provision of skills, advanced agricultural technology, financing frameworks, and infrastructure development built upon key markets.
The summer school and conference was held under the theme “unlocking agribusiness opportunities”.