Kenya was in Kanye
National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) on the 21st March 2018 hosted a delegation from Kenyan Ministry of Defence, led by Kenya High Commissioner Mr Wilfred Misau and the Head of Delegation Colonel Abdi.
The purpose of the visit was to familiarise themselves with the socio-economic structures of Botswana. Senior Food Research Scientist in the Food Technology Department, Mr Selalelo Mpotokwane delivered a presentation titled “NFTRC’s Technology Transfer Interventions – contribution to Socio-Economic Development in Botswana”, which covered the history, mandate, products and services, completed and current projects of NFTRC.
He said that NFTRC has come a long way in developing food technologies that are made readily available to the nation at large for technology transfer and commercialisation, hence diversifying and improving the economy of the country. He also shared NFTRC success stories and strategic collaborations worldwide.
One of the questions raised by the students was, what is Botswana’s take on Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs). Research Scientist in the Microbiology and Biotechnology Department, Mr Gaone Mokhawa elaborated that currently there is no Botswana legislation that regulates GMOs, hence the country`s recent endorsement of a body that will look at GMO issues. However from NFTRC’s analysis GMOs have been detected in the country. He added that this was to be expected since we import most of our food, particularly from South Africa, where GMOs are allowed.
Another question was, what is NFTRC`s take on harmful preservatives, since a recent documentary had linked chemicals such as sodium benzoate to occurrences of cancer in the long term. Mr Mpotokwane answered that NFTRC advises the food industry to do market research about their products to help them make a decision on whether or not to use such preservatives with a view to extending product shelf-life, because if a product has good market potential most customers may not need to keep it for long in their kitchens before consuming it, to require the use of such preservatives. He summed up by stating that NFTRC’s product development use natural preservatives such as citric acid, salt and oil they are mostly preferred because they are healthier options.
Major Kenneth Wabwire, who was the students’ representative, handed a token of appreciation to Mr Mpotokwane, thanking NFTRC for accepting their request to visit, and coordinating an informative presentation and tour of the facilities.
The event was concluded with a tour of Food Technology laboratory where the visitors were shown the machinery and equipment used for food processing.