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2014-10-17 - BIUST visits NFTRC

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) on Monday hosted Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST)’s, Dr Edson Selaolo.

Dr Selaolo is the Executive Director of Research, of BIUST’s Development, and Entrepreneurship (ORDE) at

The purpose of the visit was for BIUST to seek possible areas and ways of collaboration with NFTRC. 

He shared ORDE's strategies, structure and timelines for implementation.

He also had an opportunity to learn of  the challenges and achievements NFTRC has hitherto experienced.

He said his newly formed department wishes to bring other organisations on board and urged NFTRC to take advantage of the initiative and move together with BIUST to achieve their goals.

Dr Selaolo said he was impressed by the fact that NFTRC hosts students on industrial  internship and co-supervises research some.

He advocated for both institutions to revisit their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to include other important aspects that would be mutually beneficial.

NFTRC’s Acting Managing Director, Dr Martin Kebakile had earlier given an overview of the organization where he expressed gratitude that a just started department seeks to identify synergies that validate the working relations that could take both NFTRC and BIUST far.

In response, Dr Selaolo said NFTRC is known for product development and it is one of the institutions that needs to be assisted, hence the visit to forge a partnership.

The visit ended with a tour of NFTRC laboratories.

 

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2014-10-17 - “NFTRC shines”

Ms Keneetswe Rose Moteu and Ms Tshegofatso Baseki say National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) training is beneficial. 

The duo is amongst trainees partaking in the on-going Fruits and Vegetables processing training.

Ms Tshegofatso, who is working for Shield Security contracted by NFTRC, said enrolled for the training because no specialised equipment is required and raw materials are easily accessible.

She said over and above her formal work, she will now venture into mixed vegetable and lerotse jam processing.

She said though she hails from Kanye, she was not aware that they have a facility that can change many lives in the village, adding that her biggest task now is to market the centre’s services to people of Kanye.

Meanwhile, Ms Keneetswe Rose Moteu said her journey into food processing started last year after enrolling for Food Processing and Preservation at Rural Training Centre (RTC) in Pelotshetlha.

Keneetswe said after completing her training, she requested for sponsorship from Social Welfare Office in Mathethe to upgrade her skills but to no avail.

This, she said did not demoralise her, as a zealous person willing to realise her dreams, she formed a youth group in an effort to seek sponsorship from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.

She said as the boat was about to sink, the Gender Affairs Office in Kanye, communicated with her that her name was forwarded to them by Social Welfare Office in Mathethe and she was booked a place at NFTRC for fruits and vegetables processing training.

She said the training will advance her skills as she has been making (mixed vegetable) atchar and she will now venture into other products like jam.

 

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2014-10-10 - NFTRC attends Moshupa secondary schools fair

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) was amongst stakeholders at the Moshupa Secondary Schools career fair hosted by Baitirile Junior Secondary School.

The career fair was held under the theme “Employment a key to one’s better future”.

NFTRC’s Keontse Mothibedi advised students to venture into food processing to develop a food-secure Botswana.

He said if they venture into food processing they would be not only be creating employment for themselves but for others, helping   government’s import substitution      efforts and diversifying Botswana’s economy .

He urged them to contact NFTRC anytime as the organisation is always ready to assist .

The objectives of the fair were to relate subjects to careers, be able to know value, skills and interests related to   career choice, emerging opportunities, and to use skills to create employment opportunities.

When officially opening the event, Kgosi Kgabosetso Mosielele encouraged students to take their school work seriously, as education is the key to everything in the modern world .

He urged students to consider opening their own businesses to address unemployment and industrialise Botswana, reminding students that they are being sensitised at an early age because “Mosele wa pula o epiwa go sa le gale”.

The event, which was an eye opener to completing Junior Certificate (JC) and Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) students, comprised Moshupa Senior Secondary School, and the junior secondary schools of Mmanana, Diratsame, and the host Baitirile.

NFTRC showcased its products and services.

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2014-10-10 - QMS course beneficial

This week, Quality Matters (Pty) Ltd’s Tatlhego Kooneeng workshopped the last group of National Food Technology Research (NFTRC) staff members on Quality Management System (QMS).

The course objective was to bring all NFTRC staff members on board to embrace the system as the organisation runs towards certification ISO 9001:2008.

The Weekly Bulletin team interviewed some of the participants and this is what they had to say:

Godiraone Lefatshe said before the course he knew QMS existed at NFTRC but neither understand it fully, nor its benefits.

He said he is delighted as he learnt what QMS is and how it is going to benefit his professional growth, as well as NFTRC as an organisation.

He said learnt that QMS is what he does every day, but the system advocates for quality,  documentation,   records-keeping for traceability and organisational excellence.

Gloria Molefe said the course was to align the relevance of her vast experience in QMS with applicable aspects within NFTRC. She said during her tertiary education she did a five-month course on Food Safety and Quality, which covered all systems of QMS.

She added that at her department they have reviewed their documentation and have already started               implementing QMS. 

She said QMS will be beneficial to NFTRC as it will improve delivery and enable continuous improvement.  

Omphile Petros said the course has put her on board regarding QMS as she did not know anything about it and its significance. 

She said she now knows that QMS is basically her daily activities transformed into quality-oriented steps, adding that she learnt that communication plays a vital role in all QMS.

Omphile said QMS is a quick road to delivery as it provides the required steps regarding issues relating to Human Resource (HR) management.

 

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2014-09-19 - A healthy and productive workforce

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) last Friday joined other stakeholders at the Southern District Workplace Wellness Day.

The event, which was held at Botswana Family Welfare Association (BOFWA) grounds, was to create awareness about healthy living as well as introduce physical fitness to the workforce for them to be productive.

It was held under the theme: “A healthy and productive workforce towards 2016”.

It started with a walk from Rural Administration Centre (RAC) to BOFWA grounds, followed by such activities as aerobics, tug of war, football, netball and health screening for HIV/AIDS and blood pressure.

In his welcome remarks, the Ngwaketse Council  Secretary’s Representative, Mr Vincent Kenosi said exercise is critical to reduce the escalating rates of lifestyle diseases.

The guest speaker, Ngwaketse Landboard Secretary Mr M. Khuduego said such activities not only create awareness on healthy living but also strengthen  working relationships.

Mr Khuduego said healthy living is one’s responsibility, adding that prevention is indeed better than cure.

He encouraged the participants to heed all advice from health workers,  urging them to join private gyms to keep healthy as well as visit health facilities for regular check-ups.

 

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2014-09-19 - Progress on QMS

The Quality Management System (QMS) team has revived its Friday meetings.

The revival follows new resolve to get NFTRC ISO 9001:2008 certified come February 2015.

The team has vowed to take the meetings seriously to ensure that all certification requirements are met.

To ensure all NFTRC staff are on board, the consultant Quality Matters (Pty) Ltd will conduct a     refresher course for staff that has not been trained on QMS from the 23-24 September 2014.

NFTRC staff members are encouraged to continue ensuring that their daily activities are QMS compliant at all times and keep customers satisfied.

 

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2014-09-19 - Palatable tasting day

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) recently participated at the palatable tasting day for sorghum at Dibongwane lands in the Tonota West Extension Area.

The event, which was held under the theme: “Choosing the right seeds in aspects of food security” was hosted by Tonota West Farmers committee.

The focus of the day was on sorghum, where six varieties of sweet sorghum (both red and white) were prepared into stiff porridge and sour porridge and then subjected to consumer acceptance tests. 

Ms Tumelo Tlhong and Mr Mompati Molao represented NFTRC at the event.

 

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2014-09-05 - NFTRC at National Agricultural Show

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) continued its efforts to  get in touch with its stakeholders by participating at the just ended National Agricultural Show.

The show, billed for 25-30 August 2014, was held under the theme: “Transforming Agriculture in the wake of climate change”.

 It gave stakeholders an opportunity to show the abundant agricultural resources in Botswana as well as to bring people together to enjoy what the agricultural sector has to offer.

NFTRC also used the event to scout  for potential food processors by exhibiting its products and services as well as conducting consumer acceptance of watermelon juice. 

Those who tasted the watermelon juice said they were impressed with the product and would buy it should it be in the market.

Those who visited the stall showed keen interest on NFTRC training and promised to attend.

Meanwhile, when officially opening the show, the Vice President, Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe said the theme was a wakeup call for farmers not to rely on rainfed agriculture, but  to also adopt modern technologies, like proper husbandry, irrigation and soil fertilisation, that would assist them to produce enough food for Botswana.

Dr Kedikilwe said to move the agricultural sector forward, stakeholders need to come together to take stock of themselves to see whether what they are doing is still relevant and select the proper modern technologies  to enhance the production of sufficient food.

He encouraged the farmers to embrace these kind of events despite the challenges of the weather because the show is about benchmarking and learning for one can improve.

 

 

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2014-09-05 - NFTRC sensitises students

Over the last week, National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC)’s Keontse Mothibedi had his hands full sensitising students from various schools on NFTRC products and services.

The students from such schools as New Kanagas primary, Mariba Junior Secondary’s Junior Achievement Botswana and Tsabong Junior took advantage of the schoolsholidays to visit.

Keontse informed the students that being enlightening about  NFTRC  services at their age, would influence their future as per the Setswana saying “lore lo ojwa le sale metsi”.

He urged them to consider food processing and packaging as careers for them to help realise the dream of making Botswana food secure.

Students applauded NFTRC for availing them the opportunity.

 

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2014-09-05 - Naftec Investment interns on board

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) this week welcomed four graduate interns that will be seconded to the horticultural processing plant in Selebi Phikwe.

The four Mr Odaka Modongo, Mr Tema Kotlhao, Ms Kelebogile Ntebo Kgotlaetsho and Mr Emmanuel Ndlovu will be temporarily housed at NFTRC until the plant comes to life.

Mr Odaka Modongo and Mr Tema Kotlhao, are Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Technology graduates from the Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA) and are  tasked with product development.

They promised  to work hard to meet their targets.

While Ms Kelebogile Ntebo Kgotlaetsho is a Marketing Degree graduate from Inti College in Malaysia, tasked with marketing activities.

Kelebogile said she will make Batswana trust and love the products that would be produced in Selebi Phikwe.

Mr Emmanuel Ndlovu, a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business graduate from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in Botswana said his aim is make labeling and branding of products of international standards, to ensure that consumers accept them and make them household favourites.

 

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2014-09-02 - NFTRC attended BAMB food show

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) was amongst stakeholders at the first ever Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) traditional food show.

The show was held at the Botswana Craft under the theme: “Dijo Tsa Rona”. It was a platform to commercialise traditional food and open opportunities to have them in restaurants and hotels. 

The show was blessed with a variety of events such as tasting of traditional dishes, fashion show and live entertainment by local and international artists.

NFTRC showcased its indigenous and veldt processed products. It was also an opportunity to raise awareness about processing of indigenous foods for commercialisation.

 

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2014-09-02 - NFTRC hosts Mozambique delegates

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) this week hosted delegates from Mozambique.

The delegation was led by National Director for Human Resources Development and Capacity Building for      Science and Technology in the Ministry of Science and Technology Dr Alsacia Atanasio.

The aim of the tour was to explore possible collaboration areas with NFTRC.

The delegates were welcomed by Acting Managing Director Dr Martin Kebakile, who also gave an overview of NFTRC.

When commenting on the overview of NFTRC, Dr Atanasio said there are many possible areas of collaboration looking at services provided by NFTRC.

She said the two could collaborate in the areas of Nutrition, food processing, food safety and health.

She revealed that they are currently carrying out a study on food equivalent table; comparing nutritional composition of modern foods with wild foods which can help people living in rural communities.

 Dr Atanasio said they would be happy to host NFTRC team in Maputo.

The Mozambican delegation was accompanied by Mr Tlhabelo Mmusi from Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

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2014-09-02 - Progress on QMS

National Food Technology Research Centre’s ISO 9001:2008 certification journey continues with February 2015 as D-day. 

As workshops have already been held to sensitise staff on the Quality Management System (QMS), it is now time for implementation and self audit.

The Weekly Bulletin encourages all staff to introspect.

Ask yourself:

 · Am I  ready for this certification

· Have I mapped my individual processes and am I following them

· Am I  educating myself about other departments' processes

· Am I  striving to satisfy my customers

Let us continue improving on  our daily activities in the build-up to the impending certification.

 

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2014-08-08 - NFTRC at Tswapong North agric show

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) last week showcased its products and services at the Tswapong North District agricultural show.

The show, which was held in Maunatlala, also provided an opportunity for NFTRC to scout for potential entrepreneurs as it brought a diverse section of the population together.

It was held under the theme was: “transforming agriculture in the wake of climate change”.

The show brought together exhibitors not only to showcase or sell their products, but to interact and learn from one  another.

When officially opening the show, the Chief Executive of Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, Mr Cross Kgosidiile encouraged Batswana to utilise early rains to maximise the benefit of the weather conditions as they are no longer     reliable.

Mr Kgosidiile also encouraged Batswana to change their mindset and utilise modern methods through the assistance of Ministry of Agriculture that would improve their crops and  animals, adding that nowadays relying only on rainfall is too risky.

He urged farmers to be committed in whatever they do and work with institutions like NFTRC to improve their product bases and diversify the economy.

Those who visited the NFTRC stall appreciated the centre’s efforts saying the interactions were very enlightening.

 

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2014-08-08 - Road to ISO9000:2008 certification

Quality Management System (QMS) is still one of  National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC)’s top priorities as the 14 December 2014 deadline still stands.

Therefore NFTRC staff is urged to implement and review their processes in readiness for audits to meet the December deadline.

Acting Managing Director, Dr Martin Kebakile, has announced the appointment of Dr Bernard Bulawayo as Management Representative (MR) replacing Dr Mary Binta.

Dr Kebakile also said a consulting company, Quality Matters (Pty) Ltd; will assist the QMS           committee to fast track the certification process.

 

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2014-07-25 - NFTRC Vision 2016 and Bot50 activities

Government, through her different ministries’ inter-departmental committees on Vision 2016 and Project Bot50 (50th anniversary of independence celebrations), has started building up towards the year 2016, when she will be celebrating both her 50 years of independence, as well as achievements.

There was a need therefore to come up with a      committee which would spearhead preparations for these events for the agricultural sector, hence the call for inclusion of all of the Ministry’s departments, parastatals and companies. 

Membership thus comprises representatives from the Departments of Agriculture,  Information and Public Relations (DAIPR); the Department of Agricultural   Research (DAR); the National Master-Plan for Arable Agriculture and Dairy Development (NAMPAADD); the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC); the Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB); Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA) and National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) – represented by Mr Selalelo Mpotokwane.

This year’s Vision 2016 awareness commemorations shall be held in Tsootsha (Kalkfontein), in the Gantsi District, under the theme "LIVING THE VISION – YA ME LE WENA” from 25-31 August 2014. 

Selalelo travelled to Gantsi with other committee members on 14th July 2014.  He said there was need for the committee to visit Gantsi in order to appreciate progress on the ground, and to see how best they could assist their counterparts at the Gantsi Agricultural Office.

He said as an activity prior to the trip, committee members had been asked to submit write-ups on their institutions, highlighting their history and notable achievements since independence (inception, in the case of NFTRC).  It was advised that such write-ups would be more appealing if they included pictures – to this end, Selalelo prepared and submitted a Powerpoint document entitled “The History and Achievements of NFTRC”.

During the trip the committee visited a horticultural project, a vegetable garden at Chobokwane Primary School and a poultry one in Tsootsha with a community member as beneficiary; these beneficiaries were selected to showcase government’s efforts at improving citizens’ livelihoods at the Vision 2016 awareness commemorations. 

Selalelo said it was established upon questioning the garden’s caretaker, Ms. Keikantsemang Keatametse, that she was interested in processing of the horticultural produce, and it was agreed that arrangements for training an identified group, by NFTRC, would be done with the relevant Agricultural Officer Mr. Ishmael Matsau. 

During the same trip, Selalelo also presented a paper titled “Technology Transfer as an Enabler in the Development of Food Manufacturing Industries – Kgalagadi, Gantsi and Ngamiland” at Vision 2016’s 1st Regional Conference held in Gantsi.

 

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2014-07-18 - NFTRC trains participants on packaging

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) last week trained eight participants on packaging of food grains.

Four of the participants were sponsored by Mahalapye Sub District Council while others were self  sponsored.

NFTRC's Anna Nkwe Mosele applauded the participants for being free and interactive, which she said made their stay enjoyable.

 She said they also taught facilitators other traditional techniques of managing food.

She said the training was just the beginning of a good working relationship  between them and NFTRC.

One of the participants, Ms Boitumelo Molosiwa applauded NFTRC facilitators for delivering training in a more understandable manner and provided a conducive environment for them, which made learning easier and enjoyable.

Ms Molosiwa said she is going to encourage others to come for packaging training, especially street vendors as it has health benefits and can increase sales.

 

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2014-07-18 - Weekly Bulletin turns 5

It feels like the 17th July 2009 was just yesterday when the first issue of the Weekly Bulletin hit our desktops. 

Yesterday marked the fifth year of the Weekly Bulletin’s existence and what a journey it has been.

The journey was not smooth at all, but we put our best brain power forward to ensure that our customers got what they deserve.

The Weekly Bulletin crawled, walked and it is now running by covering all NFTRC events driven by the creativity, hard work, passion as well as willingness to perform by the team honoured to    produce it and its legion of supporters.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our valuable customers for not only their readership but also their meaningful contributions - making the Weekly Bulletin what it is today.

We would also like to make special mention of Mr Selalelo Mpotokwane who is always willing to lend a hand.

He once commended the Weekly Bulletin Team for coming up with the bulletin week after week, adding that it gives a representative and reliable record of what goes on in the organisation.

To those who have not made any contributions we say come on board, your contributions will assist us grow.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, WEEKLY BULLETIN!!

 

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2014-07-18 - BCA interns bid NFTRC goodbye

Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA) student interns’ stay with National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) has come to end.

The group which consisted of Ms Kopelo Precious Mosimanegape Ms Masego Lilly Bontsi, Ms Goabaone Tebango, Ms Boemo Bakani, Ms Tshireletso Mashumba and Mr Oratile Bernard Kgalaeng was with NFTRC for six weeks and they were attached at Food Technology Department.

The group ended their tenure with presentations about what they have learnt at NFTRC and the products they processed.

When commenting on the presentations, Dr Bernard Bulawayo said the group came at a opportune time when NFTRC was processing products for the Open Day, adding  that the interns played a major role in processing the products thus giving them the much needed first hand experience in their industrial attachment.

The students said they were happy to have played a vital role in the preparations for NFTRC Open Day, while the presentations helped them a lot as they would add more value to their attachment reports.

They said they enjoyed their stay at NFTRC as they have learned a lot, adding that they would appreciate more if NFTRC could provide more computers for student interns to enable them to carry out their research activities. 

They expressed their sincere gratitude to their supervisors who were friendly, cooperative and willing to help them anytime and also grateful to all NFTRC staff for making their stay warm and enjoyable.

 

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2014-07-18 - Breastfeeding: A dying zest in Botswana

It is official – Most Batswana mothers do not breastfeed, even though breast milk is arguably the best gift a mother can give to her infant. 

This was the centre of debate at an Infant and Young Child Feeding Workshop  hosted by National Food Technology   Research Centre (NFTRC) in Palapye on July 11, 2014. 

Findings of the study conducted by NFTRC on the “The use of isotopes in assessing the exclusivity of breastfeeding and its impact on the nutritional status of women in Botswana”, indicated that none of the women included in the study were exclusively breastfeeding at first six months of their children’s lives as recommended by the World Health Organisation. 

The low rates of exclusive breastfeeding are possibly contributing to the poor nutritional status of children under the age of five. 

The Botswana Health Survey shows that in the year 2007, 13.5%, 7.2% and 25.9% of children were under-weight, wasted and stunted respectively according to the National Center for Health Statistics Reference (NCHS).

 

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2014-07-11 - NFTRC hosts a PhD student

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) is hosting Ms Tecklah Usai, a Zimbabwean PhD student and Lecturer from Midlands State University in Zimbabwe who would be with NFTRC for four weeks.

Ms Usai said she is here on a research analysis, designing of a dietary regimen and lifestyle guidelines for people who are prone to gastro esophageal reflux disease.

She said the aim of the analysis is to look for foods that buffer acids because the reflux is caused by   acids that come up from the stomach to esophagus.

She said she brought with her brown rice, millet, rapoko and would buy fruits and vegetables locally that would be used for analysis. 

She said during the analysis she would observe the quantities of nutrients in the meals, figuring out nutrient-nutrient interaction and how they bond to each other so that they can be processed by the body.

Ms Usai said the analysis would help her understand how food can be combined to solve a problem/disease, in particular heartburn and it will also help her to attain her PhD.

She said the analysis would not only benefit her, but the nation of Zimbabwe at large because she is going to prepare a report which will be accessible to everyone, adding that NFTRC will also benefit as she is going to exchange the information with the institution and Batswana would be able to access the information that would assist those who have the same problem.

She said as a lecturer, she would be able to teach her students on how to prepare meals that would save health problems and also impart the knowledge on how to combine different foods.

Ms Usai said her reception at NFTRC was good, even though she could not speak common  Setswana sayings but hoped to grasp some as time goes on.

She gave her gratitude to NFTRC for allowing her to use the equipment that is effective on nutrient analysis as they do not have such in Zimbabwe, adding that this would also help her to have hands-on training on equipment as she is learning a lot and she is now able to prepare samples for analysis.

 

 

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2014-07-11 - Omphile joins NFTRC

Ms Omphile Petros has joined National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) as a graduate intern, attached at Human Resources and Administration Department.

Omphile pursued Advanced Diploma in Business Management and Degree in Business Studies at Gaborone Institute of Professional Studies (GIPS).

She believes NFTRC is full of professionals, this will encourage her to work to the best of her ability with the hope that she would eventually grow professionally.

Her expectation at NFTRC is to work with staff who are leaders, cooperative, understanding, helpful and who will provide necessary support to her.

Omphile said prior to joining NFTRC, she knew about the organisation but did not know what exactly it does, so being at NFTRC is will be able to grasp more information and ultimately utilise the it for her own benefit.

She said she was given a warm and friendly reception on her first day and hopes that would sustain her during her stay.

Omphile will be with NFTRC for the period of two years.

 

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2014-07-11 - Dr Mosetlha bids NFTRC goodbye

Dr Kabo “Kaboom” Mosetlha, a Senior Research Scientist at Food Chemistry Department is saying goodbye to NFTRC today.

Dr Mosetlha who hails from Sebina joined National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) on the 10th October 2008 as a Research Scientist at the then Biochemistry Department (now Food Chemistry Department).

He said it was not his first interaction with the institution as he was attached at NFTRC for three months in 2001 as a second year student from University of Botswana.

He said he worked very hard as a Research Scientist and before long he was promoted to the position of Senior Research Scientist in March 2011. 

Dr Mosetlha said while at NFTRC he gained a valuable work experience and he would like to thank NFTRC employees (past and present) who had an input into shaping him into the person he is today.

He extended his sincere gratitude to members of the Food Chemistry Department for their time and understanding in their fruitful working relations they had for the past five years.

He said he would like to thank NFTRC Management for the opportunities of professional and personal development that he was offered during his stay at NFTRC.

He added that he will always have fond memories of his time at NFTRC and he will especially miss the social interactions that he had with all NFTRC staff outside working hours.  

Dr Mosetlha said he will be joining Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) on the 23rd July 2014.

 

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2014-07-04 - Kalamare community sets new trend

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) was part of history in the making at the maiden Kalamare Citizen Empowerment Fair.

 The objective of the two-day event was to bring    private sector service providers, implement retailers and government departments to one place to interact with the community and give them information on ways to improve their livelihoods.

On the first day, organisations were afforded an opportunity to present on their products and services as well as how the community can access such after the usual official portion of events.

NFTRC presented on potential business opportunities and appropriate food processing technologies for the Shoshong constituency.

The Botswana Young Farmers Association was among the biggest supporters of the event, as it sponsored the design and printing of the event programme as well as having a big presence just by the entrance of the venue.

It is worth noting that there was a large presence of young unemployed people, who showed interest in coming to NFTRC for training in food processing.

In an area that is greatly well endowed with veldt products, NFTRC’s choice of exhibits was slanted towards morama products, as the bean is reportedly abundant in the constituency, melon jams and juices to give the residents a live show of the area’s potential.

 

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2014-07-04 - NFTRC joins others in visits to Moshupa Sub DEDC projects

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) on Monday joined other stakeholders of District      Economic Development Committee (DEDC) to tour and assesses poverty eradication beneficiaries’ projects in the Moshupa Sub-District.

The team visited projects in Ranaka, Lekgolobotlo, Ntlhantlhe and Magotlhwane, which included small stock, fashion design, tuck shop and bakery.

One of the beneficiaries based in Ranaka, Ms Kedidimetse Ramasu, a baker, expressed gratitude to government for what it has offered her.

Ms Ramasu said her dream is to grow her baking business to start competing with big entrepreneurs in the     industry in future.

 

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2014-07-04 - Dr Zvidzai visits NFTRC

Dr Cuthbert Zvidzai, Senior Lecturer and Head of Department in Food Science and Technology at Chinhoyi University in Zimbabwe recently visited National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) at the invite of management, to present on his research on edible insects, their nutritional contents for human consumption and how they are  prepared.

Dr Zvidzai said NFTRC has a state of the art equipment for research and research analysis, so he anticipates research links between NFTRC and Chinhoyi University.

He said he is hopeful to comeback to NFTRC to enrich the papers he is currently working on, adding that he has also had got interactions with some expects in Botswana doing research on insects.

Meanwhile, a lecturer, who is also a student at Chinhoyi University in Zimbabwe, Mrs Tecklah Usai is attached at NFTRC to do her food analysis with the assistance of Dr Boitshepo Keikotlhaile.

 

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2014-06-06 - NFTRC sponsors The Movement Kanye

As part of its Corporate Social Investment Programme, National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) last week sponsored an event hosted by The Movement Kanye.

NFTRC promoted healthy living through proper eating by sponsoring the event with fruits.

The event was a memorial service for the fallen brethren due to car accidents, murder, rape and other social ills.

The memorial service kicked off with a walk of freedom from Mongala Mall to Bee Gee (BG).  It was held under the theme “Kanye my home, its safety is my responsibility”.

The Movement Kanye is a youth movement against rape, murder, violence, abuse and crime. 

 

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2014-06-06 - BCA students at NFTRC

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) this week received six students from Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA) on six weeks attachment.

The group of second year Bachelor of Science students are all majoring in Food Science and     Technology.

The group of Ms Kopelo Precious Mosimanegape, Ms Masego Lilly Bontsi, Ms Goabaone Tebango, Ms Boemo Bakani, Ms Tshireletso Mashumba and Mr Oratile Bernard Kgalaeng. is attached at Food Technology             Department.

The students said they were well received by NFTRC staff, thus creating a conducive environment for them to do their practical learning.

They said BCA does not have most food processing equipment available at NFTRC, hence they are advancing and diversifying their skills.

They said they have struck gold at NFTRC, as they are interested in opening a seswaa canning factory in the future rather than seeking employment.

 

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2014-06-06 - NFTRC benefits from TS

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) is amongst organisations that are benefiting from the newly introduced Tirelo Sechaba Programme (TS).

The programme administered by Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture is meant for  unemployed Batswana youth to add value to their communities by providing services in different organisations within their home villages.

Annah Ngwanasejo has joined NFTRC on a four year stint as part of the TS programme.

Annah, who is attached at Human Resources and Administration said she is grateful for the opportunity and thanked NFTRC for the good reception and warmth she receives everyday from the caring, loving, supportive and not discriminative staff.

She said NFTRC is a good starting point in her working environment as she had never been in a professional working place before, adding that the organisation is providing her with an opportunity to learn new aspects about professionalism and life.

Annah said she will execute all her duties to the best of her abilities, with love and patience.

Anna holds a BGCSE certificate from Seepapitso Senior Secondary School.

 

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2014-05-28 - NFTRC shines in Qabo

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) was amongst stakeholder’s that participated at the just ended Poverty eradication workshop in Qabo.

NFTRC was represented by Mr Abia Sebaka and Ms Tumelo Tlhong.

Abia said they demonstrated fruit and vegetable processing as well as food packaging technologies.

He said they focused on jam processing because most Poverty Eradication Programme projects have a component on backyard gardening, which produces the requisite raw materials required.

He said Food Packaging Technology emphasised simplified unit operation in packaging for Small, Medium & Micro Enterprises (SMMEs).

Abia said packaging technology targeted agriculture and veldt products, adding that 15 beneficiaries were inducted on the selected technologies.

He said the reception was good because NFTRC’s approach is one of the few that have practical components that is enjoyed by most beneficiaries.

The workshop was held under the theme ‘Poverty Eradication:  Towards Dignity for All’.

 

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2014-05-28 - Keontse rejoins NFTRC

Keontse Mothibedi, a former graduate intern, has joined NFTRC as Assistant Public Relations Officer on a two year contract.

Keontse said he is delighted to join NFTRC again, adding that he is grateful to the Public Relations and NFTRC management for recognising his capabilities and opting to engage him.

He promised to contribute significantly to the delivery of the NFTRC mandate 

He said he is looking forward to engaging with all intellectuals to grow him professionally, and prepare himself for the challenges of the future. Keontse called for teamwork, saying he is determined to work with all NFTRC staff.

Keontse joins NFTRC from Celiat Construction and Pl

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2014-05-28 - Godiraone and Tshenolo joyful

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) has engaged Godiraone and Tshenolo as Assistant User Support Technicians.

The duo, started life here as graduate interns, attached at the Information Technology Department

Godiraone Lefatshe said he is grateful that NFTRC offered him a job, and thanks God for transforming his dream into reality as it was always his dream to work for NFTRC. He said this is a great way to start his life, since he was struggling to find a job after graduation.

He said he achieved a lot as a graduate intern with new challenges that he surpassed, adding that he managed to come up with some useful virus elimination too, l which helped him to remove angry birds’ virus which was posing a threat to the NFTRC staff.

Godiraone said since he is now a NFTRC employee, he will put more effort in executing his duties and sacrifice his personal time for NFTRC to come up with fresh ideas for the benefit of the company.

He said IT is a challenge on its own as it changes everyday, forcing them to research and keep up to satisfy their customers.

Godiraone said he feels home at NFTRC as staff members treat him like part of the family.

He said at IT, they work as a team and he is grateful to his boss because he is helping him grow professionally.

Tshenolo Nageng said he is happy and grateful to have been offered a job at NFTRC as Assistant User Support Technician.

He said he really learnt a lot from his colleagues to become a better professional and he will like to deeply thank NFTRC staff for having so much faith in him.

He said he has achieved some of his personal goals and still looking forward to achieve more because now he is recognised as a NFTRC employee.

Tshenolo said since there is a great motivation now, personally his morale will be high and better results will be produced.

He said since technology is growing almost every day, it is quite difficult to keep up with it, but users expect Information Technology personnel to be up to speed. He said he does a lot of research to learn new technology.

He said NFTRC family is very accommodating, thus making his stay enjoyable.

 

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2014-05-16 - Onalenna’s equipment handed over

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC)’s trained and equipped poverty eradication beneficiary Onalenna Benjamin is now ready to start her own business.

Last Friday, Onalenna got the nod following a demonstration of her skills and wizardry to NFTRC’s Anna Nkwe-Mosele and Abia Sebaka in her mother’s kitchen in Makobo village in the current Tonota North Constituency.

The training was NFTRC’s way of not only showing that its technologies work but that they can be used even in somebody’s kitchen.

The NFTRC team also handed over equipment that she would be using to run her business, which includes: a gas stove; 48 kg cylinder gas; stainless steel pots, buckets and bowls as well as raw materials and ingredients for processing fruits and vegetables. 

Onalenna is currently focusing on processing Lerotse jam and mixed vegetable artchar.

NFTRC wishes Onalenna all the best as she delves into the world of business to support herself and her family in kicking out the enemy called POVERTY.

 

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2014-05-16 - Khurutshe primary school visits

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) on Monday hosted pupils and teachers from Khurutshe Primary School in the Kgatleng   District.

This marked the first batch of visits by schools during the current school holidays.

The aim of the visit was for avail the pupils an opportunity to appreciate what NFTRC is all about as well as to encourage to develop a passion for science subjects at tender age.

Ms Thatayaone Kepaletswe welcomed the visitors and guided them as they toured NFTRC facilities.

The pupils were very excited about the visit as for some this was the first time for them to leave their home village.

 

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2014-05-16 - So far so good, say Assistant Research Scientists

After spending the past six months at National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC), Assistant  Research Scientists had a chat with Weekly Bulletin on how their stay has been and what they anticipate going forward.

This is what they had to say:

Gloria Molefe said her first six months at NFTRC had been the most exciting after graduating since she had to represent herself and the academic institution that prepared her for the job.

Gloria said her stay at NFTRC has been both fulfilling and engaging as she has been learning new things almost every day.

She said having been at NFTRC had been a great achievement on its own but the fact that she has been able to deliver, contribute and accomplish most of the work assigned to her has bolstered her confidence.

She said her urge to get better and intention to make a difference had been the engine behind waking up every day to come to work.  

She said she had not experienced challenges so far  because of the assistance and team work that has been portrayed in the workplace.

She said she has been able to settle and adapt into the work environment without difficulties hence she believes this is the right place for her to start her work life as she is being well groomed.

Gloria said her relationship with her colleagues has been convincing enough and improved.

Kitso Koboyangaka said he has a great team which works well together and is always available to one another for help and feedback.

Kitso said he has learnt proper team work and communication, which makes things to just fall into place. He said he has learnt that one should always seek help quickly whenever s/he faces a challenge.

He said knowing that he can always approach his supervisors with anything whenever really motivates him to come to work and give his all to any given task.

He said there have not been many challenge so far.

He says with NFTRC’s very small staff size, most things should just fly with very fewer hiccups.

He called for better communication within departments and across the entire organisation to improve delivery even more.

Kitso said he loves everyone at NFTRC and has not had any problems with anyone so far, adding that he intends to keep it that way.

Richard Makhura said his stay at NFTRC has been enjoyable over the past six months, adding that he grew professionally, got to learn new analytical methods and techniques of food analysis.

Richard said he has achieved the targets and goals that he set for himself, which in turn made him achieve all the objectives and assignments he was given. He said he always makes it a point that he meets his deadlines.

He said he is his own motivator, as he has a desire and zeal to produce good results in everything that he does.

He said his relationship with NFTRC staff is good as there is mutual respect, which makes work              enjoyable.

Thamiso Magowe said the past six months have been exciting. She said coming to NFTRC has given her the opportunity to apply what she had learnt at school, as well as give her personal and professional growth as a young person who is new to the working environment.

Thamiso said working with a passionate and highly knowledgeable team also taught her a lot of things that she could have never learnt in a classroom, giving credence to the Setswana adage ‘dilo makwati di kwatabolotswa mo go ba bangwe’.

She said at the moment she cannot really think of any challenges she encountered and if any they must have been very minor as thus were dealt with right away.

She said currently she and her team are working on some new products and she is certainly looking forward to actually finishing those products.

She said she is also looking forward to seeing those products in the market, which will give her pride knowing that she contributed to such, something she can even share with her children someday when they purchase the products at a retail store, not forgetting having her name on publications.

Thamiso said she gets on well with NFTRC staff as she has not encountered any conflicts with anyone in the past six months even though she does not really know some people from other departments.  She  however hopes that, that will change with time.

Tebogo Loeto said the past six months have been a blessing, landing a contract in  the only and most recognised food research institutions in the country, has been such an    honour and an icing on her  resume.

Tebogo said she has gained a wealth of experience from her superiors as well as the rest of the NFTRC team.

She said from assisting in crucial projects to helping during training, running day to day extension errands such as communicating and assisting clients were just some of her accomplishments.

She says her drive and desire to improve on her skills and knowledge, prompted her to wake up and come to work with an understanding that ‘we live in an era where in order to make it in life one needs to be unique, a cut above the rest’.

 

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2014-05-09 - NFTRC QMS Launch

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) On 29 April 2014 launched its Quality Management System (QMS).

The Acting Managing Director, Dr Martin Kebakile said as part of its vision is to be an international organisation of excellence NFTRC decided to be ISO 9001certified to be in a position to compete by delivering incredible services.

The QMS Coordinator Dr Mary-Gorettie Binta said a lot has been said about QMS and it is now time for doing, adding that QMS belongs to every individual, as a way to demonstrate commitment to customers.

Dr Binta said QMS is a continuous journey, so staff members should not be dismayed when the auditors come to assess them.

She said QMS will help NFTRC to measure the level of customer satisfaction.

She said when all is done the documents would be submitted to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) for       further auditing.

Dr Kebakile thanked the QMS team for coming up with the manual, adding that even though they went through thick and thin it was appreciated that they   ended up coming up with something tangible. 

He declared that the 29 April 2014 as the beginning of practicing QMS at NFTRC and urged everyone to  conform.

 

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2014-05-09 - Thamaga JSSs’ students empowered

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) was on Tuesday among institutions that participated at a Form Three Career Fair hosted by Thamaga Junior Secondary School.

The event, which was held under the theme ‘Education: My right, My future’, was for the four Thamaga junior secondary schools of Letlole-Mosiele, Sekgele, Thobega and Thamaga.

In his welcome remarks, Thamaga JSS School Head Mr Nnoane thanked the organising committee for  putting the important occasion together for students to grasp the right information to choose their future.

Mr Nnoane encouraged students to pay attention to the various presenters and exhibitors  to grasp as much as possible to build brighter futures.

He encouraged those that would not make it for further studies to find something that would uplift their       livelihoods rather than opting for unlawful activities.

Pontsho, ex-student of Thamaga JSS and now a student at Moshupa Senior Secondary School gave a motivational talk to other students saying that Batswana children are entitled to education and that they are lucky because their education is almost free and it is for him as well other students to shape their better future because they live once. 

He encouraged other students to set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (SMART) goals.

The guest speaker Mr Uyapo Ndadi urged the students to study hard and refrain from telling themselves that they are living a life,  but start now to secure their   future.

 Mr Ndadi said greatness does not come through shortcuts, therefore they should take their  work very seriously.

 He said it is possible to get through if one is determined, adding that nowadays it is even difficult to be employed through the Ipelegeng programme, what more  for one who lags behind as it would be the survival of the fittest.

He encouraged the students to be what they want to be by pursuing their dreams provided it is lawful and that they should be careful about substances that could destroy their future. 

He encouraged them not to only study for examinations but rather to be better persons.

At the end students visited different stalls for more information.

Students were advised to pass mathematics, science or both in order to further their studies as food scientists, technologists, nutritionists or other sectors like engineering, natural sciences, information technology and medicine.

Students were further encouraged not only to learn mathematics and science but also have passion for other subjects which are critical to Botswana's development.

 

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2014-05-09 - Centre of Excellence for Nutrition Forges Collaboration with NFTRC

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) is in discussion with the Centre of Excellence for    Nutrition – North West University (CEN-NWU) on the possibility of collaborating on indigenous food         research. 

Dr Boitumelo Motswagole said the proposed work would build on the work that NFTRC is already doing on Botswana indigenous foods to assess their potential contribution to nutrient intake and livelihoods.  

Dr Motswagole said recently there has been a realisation of the need to recognise the potential value of indigenous foods in the face of the nutrition transition that is taking place in developing countries. 

She said the nutrition transition among other effects, may lead to reduced utilisation of local and traditional foods which have served to sustain populations in Africa and elsewhere over time; loss of knowledge on these foods including traditional processing methods which could be taken advantage of in addressing food and nutrition security; loss of the food products themselves without specific efforts targeted at conserving the existing food biodiversity (crop or animal).

She said this would in turn reduce the capacity to achieve more sustainable diets that include local food         biodiversity in local and national food systems as well as loss of livelihoods for many families that are engaged in related economic activities

Dr Motswagole said the collaboration would be in the form of NFTRC hosting a PhD student registered with CEN-NWU to look at the contribution of indigenous foods to daily diets in selected localities because the    identification has already been done; determination of relationships between use of indigenous foods at household level with key nutrition and food security indicators in both rural and urban settings, as well as the determination of nutrient contribution of specific indigenous foods coupled with bioavailability and bio accessibility of the nutrients and a study on the supply chain and the contribution to household income from indigenous foods.

She said it is envisaged that NFTRC would benefit by pushing some of the activities planned on indigenous foods through the student’s project. 

She said during the meeting other opportunities were also identified relating to engaging interested assistant  research scientists currently on temporary work at NFTRC in doing some of the work for their MSc in          Nutrition. 

Dr Motswagole said the other opportunity was in populating the indigenous food composition tables.

She said the student would conduct analysis of some nutritional parameters that are still missing in the data   already compiled. 

The student is visiting NFTRC from 05-09 May 2014 to do literature review on what has already been done to get guidance on writing the project proposal. 

 

 

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2014-04-17 - Selalelo at Vision 2016 Smart Partnership Dialogue

Selalelo Mpotokwane recently attended the Vision 2016 Smart Partnership Dialogue for the North East District, in Masunga.

The event was held under the theme: “Transformation to Prosperity”

Selalelo gave a presentation on “Technology Transfer as an Enabler in the Development of Food-Manufacturing Industries”, under the sub-theme of “Transformation Towards Economic Growth/Diversification”

His presentation’s area of emphasis was that for  technology to be effectively transferred, its recipient ought to be trained and mentored in both product and process development as well as business development.

He discussed NFTRC’s customer-focused approach to research and development programmes in terms of product and process development, skills transfer and quality testing.

Selalelo also shared with workshop participants the products that are considered winners in terms of potential for effective commercialisation such as frozen and canned versions of beef and donkey meat,  seswaa under meat products while under fruit and vegetable products, puréed fruit and berry pulps, juices, jams, fruit rolls/leathers, syrup pickles,  indigenous fruits such as morula, lerotse, watermelon, moretlwa, morogo wa dinawa, dobi, bokhwilo and    vegetable atchar; for cereals and root-crops sorghum mageu, dried ting, as well as sweet potato products, were highlighted; sunflower oil, ditloo-based convenience foods, roasted melon seeds featured under pulses and oilseeds; phane-onion-and-tomato mix, dried phane under insect products; mosukujane, lengana mint teas and motlopi coffee represented the hot beverage category (side-by-side with ice-tea as cold beverage versions, for mosukujane and lengana). 

He highlighted that indigenous foods offer a niche for food manufacturers and consumers, adding that through programmes such as permaculture it is possible to propagate most indigenous plant species.

 He thus said communities should be encouraged to start plantations of species of interest, to be able to assure food manufacturing enterprises of sustainable raw material supplies.

Selalelo underscored the need for the country to be vigilant, especially at borders, to ensure that the movement of plant seeds (e.g. morula nuts, wild melons) and other biological materials that may be unique to Botswana and neighbouring countries is controlled, to avoid foreign countries stealing or eroding Botswana’s genetic material base and subsequently growing such plants (or breeding such animals) and eclipsing the country out of potential business opportunities.

 

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2014-04-17 - NFTRC duo attends QMS implementation course

Mr Rod Nkepu and Dr Minah Mosele recently attended a five-day “Implementation of  Quality Management System (QMS) BOS ISO 9001:2008”, course.

The course is tailored for Botswana by the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to carry out training based on International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO 9001).

The objective of the course is to give participants practical skills to put in place an appropriate quality management system for their organisations.

Participants were expected to achieve 100% attendance, sit and pass an examination to successfully complete the course. 

It is a pleasure to learn that the NFTRC duo did not disappoint and we congratulate them.

We look forward to their major contribution towards NFTRC’s successful implementation of QMS.

 

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2014-04-17 - Easter: What does it mean?

As the Easter holiday is upon us, National Food Technology Research (NFTRC) staff will be heading to different destinations for various reasons. 

Some will be attending church conventions, while  others would be taking a couple of days off work to spend quality time with family and friends.

The Weekly Bulletin wanted to know from the young and vibrant ones what Easter means to them and how they are going to celebrate it.

This is what they had to say:

Susan Thara Sekgweng said Easter for her is reflecting on God’s goodness that her sins are   forever washed away and that she has victory in Christ.  

She said she shall gladly spend Easter with her extended family in Francistown.

Richard Makhura said Easter is a time to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanking Him for dying on the cross for his sins so that he may be saved and sanctified.

He will also be giving thanks to the Almighty for His agape love demonstrated by Him giving His only begotten son to die for the sins of man.

Richard said he will attend church services and also be with family and friends in Palapye.

Kitso Koboyangaka said Easter is that time of the year where one gets to reflect on ones being and purpose in life.

Kitso says it is that time when one needs to be thankful to the master above and just go on and live life without any  regrets.

He said he was not sure how he is going to celebrate the holidays, but hopes to go and see his family in Molepolole.

Tebogo Loeto said someone saw it fit to die for her and then come back to life to protect her forever, which is the ultimate sacrifice, hence she sees Easter as a time to reflect and appreciate the little things she sometimes takes for granted, that is, life, love, family and most especially Jesus.

She said she would definitely be spending quality time with family back home in Rakops.

Basadi Motlhabatlou, said as a Christian, Easter for her is time to acknowledge the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Basadi said she does not have big plans for this Easter holiday, so she will probably go to church as they usually have a lot of conferences lined up during this time.

She said most importantly, she would spend some time with her loved ones and take a break from the hectic work life.

 

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2014-04-11 - NFTRC at 2014 African Food and Nutrition Forum

 National Food Technology Research Centre’s (NFTRC) Drs Boitumelo Motswagole, Lemogang Kwape and Sarah Matenge recently attended the 3rd conference on African Food and Nutrition Forum (AFNF) at University of Botswana.

The forum was held under the theme: “Food Production, Nutrition and Food Security: A Function of Global Policies, Environment and Climate Change”.

The main objectives of the forum were to; create a platform for academics, practitioners and policy makers to dialogue around issues of food production, nutrition and food security in the context of climate change; as well as to explore ways of improving food and nutrition security despite the changing climate patterns in the region.

The three NFTRC staff members were among presenters at the conference, which explored technologies of carving a niche for small scale farmers in the regional trade for staples and exchanged information on the postharvest loss minimisation policies, strategies and technologies available for subsistent farmers.

Dr Matenge said the workshop also created an opportunity for professionals and practitioners in the disciplines of agriculture (food science and food production) and human nutrition to dialogue on common issues.

She said the forum provided a platform to deliberate on the broad areas of climate change and food production, postharvest handling, food processing, food fortification, food security, diet and nutrition.

She said the participants also discussed and approved the draft Terms of Reference of AFNF, which were prepared by the previous committee as well as the proposed logo and the way forward.

The conference was co-organised by University of Botswana, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and Botswana College of Agriculture, Department of Food Science and Technology.

 

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2014-04-11 - NFTRC staff attend chemical risk assessment workshop

 Drs Boitshepo Keikotlhaile and Kabo Mosetlha  recently attended a Chemical Risk Assessment workshop hosted by the Ministry of Health at Botswana Bureau of Standards.

The aim of the workshop, which attracted 20 participants from different institutions involved in food safety in Botswana, was to train scientific assessors in risk assessment of chemicals in relation to specific food items to enable them to evaluate and discuss international risk assessment reports and apply the expertise to the local data to advise the local authorities.

It was organised by the Des Aliments Surs En  African, Caribbean and Pacific (EDES) Programme and financed by the European Union.

Dr Keikotlhaile said the chemicals assessed included heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, acrylamide and mycotoxins.

 She said the chemicals have shown evidence of    being health hazards when present in the diet at  certain levels; therefore they need to be monitored and reduced to curb their effects on communities.

She said the course benefited them because they now have a clear understanding of how chemical risk        assessment is done; the steps that need to be carried out as well as evaluating reports and conclusions that are reached.

Dr Keikotlhaile said the knowledge they acquired would benefit the Food Chemistry department as well as NFTRC, especially on the mycotoxins and pesticides projects.

 

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2014-04-11 - Upgrading of food testing skills

 Ms Odireleng Keipopele recently attended a training workshop on Upgrading of Food Testing Skills for  Scientists in African countries under the aegis of India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS)-11 organised by Shriram Institute for Industrial Research, in India.

Odireleng said the course was mainly about the use of the latest technologies on food safety, such as testing for          residues, contaminants, adulterants and microbial contaminants. 

She said the course attracted 25 participants from ten African countries of South Africa (1), Tunisia (1), Ethiopia (2),   Uganda (2), North Sudan (2), Burundi (2), Rwanda (3), Tanzania (3), Botswana (4) and Ghana (5). 

Participants from Botswana were from National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) and the other two were from Food Control Laboratory in the Ministry of Health in Gaborone.

Odireleng said the workshop involved presentations from specialists from different institutions in India.

She said she benefited a lot in latest trends on testing techniques, which she believes would  enhance NFTRC’s  testing capacity and increase testing scope.

She trusts that the minimal experience and exposure she got would be of crucial importance as she will share it with her colleagues and apply it where it is most needed.

 

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2014-04-11 - NFTRC appointed AFRA’s Designated Centre for Deuterium Dillution Techniques

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) has been appointed as an African Regional Co-operative Agreement for Research and Development (AFRA) Regional Designated Centre for Deuterium Dilution Techniques in Human Nutrition for the English speaking countries in Africa. 

The centre has a pool of experts in this field who have vast experience with the use of this technique.  The experts have participated in various expert missions aimed at assisting colleagues in other AFRA countries in data collection and deuterium analysis.  It has also hosted regional training courses in this field on behalf of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 

This appointment means the centre provides the following services:

1.      Theoretical and practical training in deuterium dilution techniques in human nutrition

2.      Promotes research and application on deuterium dilution techniques in human nutrition

3.      Upon request from member states, provides advisory services in measuring deuterium enrichment by Fourier Infrared Spectrophotometry(FTIR) for assessment of body composition and human milk intake by breast fed infants

4.        Upon request from member states, analyse biological samples, provide results and if required provide assistance in quality assurance of the methodology as well as data evaluation

5.        Organization of inter-laboratory studies on FTIR analysis of deuterium

6.        Contribute to promote in the region ethical issues in terms of the legal framework, receipt and sending of biological samples 

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2014-04-04 - Training on food safety and olive pickling

This week National Food Technology Research    Centre trained six people from Glen Valley Production and Training Farm on food safety and pickling of olives.

The participants are full-time employees at the farm, which started operating in 2006, with the objective to train farmers and agricultural extension officers on irrigated agriculture.

The leader of the group, Ms Kgomotso Rabosielo said the farm came about after a 2004 study between Botswana and Israel showed that olives can do well in Botswana. 

Ms Rabosielo said so far the plants have adapted well to the  Botswana climate and there have not been any problems of diseases and pests.

She said planting of olives was a way of introducing a new crop to diversify from vegetables production to fruit production.

Olives are one of the high value crops with nutritional value and more health benefits.

She said the nine-hectare farm has nine different olive varieties, which are used for both table and oil products.

One of the trainees, Mr Dikgang Seaba said they did not have any olives processing skills, so they decided to come to NFTRC to acquire those skills, adding that they will utilise the skills to pickle the olives to a desirable state for consumption.

Mr Seaba said they have learnt about hygiene, olives processing and how to handle and select the best olives.  He said they have been taught three methods of  pickling olives using water with bicarbonate, salt and citric acid.

The team said after training they will setup a processing plant where farmers will be trained to process olives into table and oil products.

They said as time goes on, they will encourage people to grow olives for themselves, which will be obtained from Tonota tree nursery which propagates olive trees and sell to interested farmers.

 

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2014-04-04 - QMS Progress

On the 1st of April 2014, National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) hosted two officials from AON Botswana for a risk management overview and identification exercise.

The main objective of the exercise was to help NFTRC identify potential risks in its business operations.

The Quality Management System (QMS) Coordinator, Dr Mary-Gorettie Binta said after the initial overview, the two officials took departmental heads on a one-on-one risk identification exercise.

Dr Binta said subsequently the facilitators will prepare a risk register, which will also indicate mitigation factors for each risk, adding that the risk register will form part of the preventive action procedure of the  Quality Management System.

 

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2014-04-04 - NFTRC embark on a mission

The Nutrition and Dietetics Department of National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) has     embarked on a mission to set up structures for the  Botswana National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (BOTHANES). 

The purpose of the survey would be to assess the health and nutritional status of Batswana (children and adults) and track changes over time. 

The idea is borrowed from a similar programme in the United States of America (USA).

As South Africa recently completed its own survey, Drs Boitumelo Motswagole and Lemogang Kwape went on a fact finding mission in Cape Town, South Africa, where they met one of the principal investigators, Professor Demetre Labadarios to discuss issues pertaining to planning and conducting such a survey.

Dr Motswagole said the meeting discussed possible focus areas for the programme. 

She said the other issue of discussion was the logistics of conducting the survey at a national level, which she said is the most challenging, especially logistical arrangements. 

She said other issues discussed included data collection and use of modern technology for data capturing and processing, sampling, budgetary considerations and potential sponsors.

Dr Motswagole said Prof. Labadarios offered to share all the tools and manuals used for the South African survey with the team and promised to always be available to assist in every way possible. 

She said it was suggested that NFTRC could sign a memorandum of understanding with Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) to formalise the working relations between the two institutions. 

She said Prof Labadarios commended the team for taking the initiative to set up the longitudinal study and encouraged them to be prepared to face all the challenges that could come with such surveys. 

Dr Motswagole said the team now has to meet with relevant stakeholders in Botswana to sell the idea and move a step forward in setting up structures coupled with fund raising.

 

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2014-03-21 - Upgrading of sewage system kicks off

The upgrading of the National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) sewage system finally started after two financial years delay.

The Supplies Officer who is also the Project    Overseer, Mr Oagile Matebejane said work started on 04 March 2014 and it is anticipated to take one and half months to complete, safe for the recent torrential rains, which might delay it.

Mr Matebejane therefore urged staff members to bear with Shumba Projects (Pty) Ltd as there might be some disturbances during that period.

He said the project could have long started but was delayed due to financial constraints and other administrative procedures.

 

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2014-03-21 - NFTRC continues to impart skills

This week National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) continued its efforts to impart skills in fruits and vegetable processing with twenty participants attending.

Most of the participants are self-sponsored, while Gender Affairs department and Poverty Eradication Programme sponsored the others.

They women came from all parts of the country.

 

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2014-03-14 - NFTRC trained potential entrepreneurs

The National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) last week trained 28 potential entrepreneurs on fruits and vegetables processing.

Of the 28, 15 were technical and business advisers from Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) offices around the country, eight were Out of School and  Education Training (OSET) learners from Francistown and surrounding villages and five beneficiaries of the Poverty Eradication Programme from Kgatleng District.

The LEA advisers said they were nominated for training to be better able to advice and recommend the training to their clients.

They said they had an opportunity to look at the facilities and ingredients used and were also informed of where to source such ingredients.

Members of the OSET group said they came to NFTRC with no knowledge of processing but they are going back rich.

They said the training was interesting and they would liaise with the OSET department to assist them where possible to start their own businesses.

The leader of OSET group, Ms Gloria Thagane said the group was the second to undergo training at NFTRC. 

Ms Thagane said the first group, which came for Food Safety training is doing well in their bakeries and they are winning tenders to supply schools in Masunga and surrounding areas.

She said the training is very important for OSET learners, some of whom are already in business as they stand a better chance of being assisted by financial institutions.

 

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2014-03-07 - NFTRC trains

As part of the National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC)‘s contribution to the Poverty Eradication Programme, the trio of Sarah Matenge, Tumelo Tlhong and Abia Sebaka was hard at work demonstrating jam processing to a handful of potential beneficiaries during the Pitso at Jamataka.

The demonstration was just to give the participants a glimpse of what the real thing entails, as the environment is not conducive for the proper thing.

The participants were all eager to delve into the task, if the serious looks on their faces was anything to go by.

The NFTRC stall also attracted a lot of visitors, some just curious, some wanting something to taste, but most importantly some who wanted to be informed of the processes/procedures to follow to enroll for training.

One of the trainees was the NFTRC-sponsored beneficiary Onalenna from Makobo, which is about 15            kilometres from Jamataka.

Onalenna’s sponsorship includes training,  equipment as well as accommodation and meals, every time she comes to Kanye for training.

The Pitso, which was held under the theme: Poverty Eradication: A journey from Poverty to Sustainable Livelihoods, was officially opened by the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Mr Dikgakgamatso Seretse.

Mr Seretse encouraged the participants to view the programme as an opportunity to graduate from poverty and not a right.

He said viewing the programme as an opportunity would enable them to eliminate the destructive propensity by some to lean towards a sense of entitlement at every turn.

He called for a change of mindset to prevent a situation where ‘we will forever be deficient in our cause’.

 

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2014-03-07 - Nametso applauds NFTRC

Nametso Lady Phirinyane has left National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC).

Nametso, who joined the centre’s Human Resources Department in September 2009, left on 28 February 2014.

She said her stay at NFTRC was enjoyable, adding the  centre was like a second home to her.

She remembered the thrilling feeling she got when she was first absorbed by NFTRC as a Graduate Intern, which was her first feel of a working environment.

Nametso said NFTRC has helped her grow professionally as she has learnt to deal with different challenges in the Human Resource Office, adding that with her passion for her work and an appetite  for beautiful things, she worked extra hard to achieve her dreams.

She said she gets her strength from her parents who motivate her with their undying love and as well as encouraging her to pray at all times but even harder in difficult times.

Nametso advised NFTRC staff to do all they can to boost their delivery, adding that the impending merger should come so that people can worry about something else.

She said individuals would have their own way of   remembering her, depending on how she touched their lives, but said she is a free soul and a loving person.

The self-declared fashionista said she hopes to be remembered by all things beautiful.

Nametso said she will certainly miss NFTRC and thanked the organisation for giving her the opportunity for growth.

Meanwhile, on the day she left, her former colleagues hosted a lunch in her honour where speakers wished her well in her future endeavours.

 

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2014-02-28 - Workshop on NFTRC 2016 Strategic Plan

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) management and senior officers recently came together to review initiatives for advancing the current institutional Strategic Plan dubbed NFTRC 2016,

The Acting Managing Director, Dr Martin Kebakile said the purpose of the workshop was to develop a work plan for the year 2014/2015.  

Dr Kebakile said the workshop commenced with a review of successes and failures of NFTRC 2016 to date, followed by a SWOT analysis to scan the institution’s current operational environment. 

Heads of Departments then met with their work groups to discuss and organise their initiatives into departmental work plans, and developed budgets for operationalising the proposed plans, with focus on selecting initiatives, which would give quick results and maximum impact on the national economic landscape.

Dr Kebakile said a number of suggested projects were brought forward by managers and they were given        suggestions for streamlining their projects and activities and were also requested to resubmit their proposals to the Managing Director’s office by end of business on Tuesday 25 February 2014. 

He said a number of departments still came up with too many projects and they were urged to focus resources on only a few so that they can achieve enhanced results.

The plans submitted will now be considered by Executive Management, Research & Development Committee, Management, the Board R&D Committee and the full board. 

He said after getting approval from the board, a Project Memorandum would be developed to request release of the R&D funds from government.

Meanwhile, Dr Kebakile has urged staff to put more that 100% effort on the good work they are doing currently to ensure that planned work is completed timeously to generate a rich collection of high impact outputs.

 

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2014-02-28 - NFTRC attends poverty eradication Pitso in Jamataka

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) will be among stakeholders at Nyeletso Lehuma (Poverty Eradication) Pitso from the 26th February to the 1st March 2014.

The Pitso will be held at Jamataka Village, over 40   kilometres west of Francistown, under the theme: “Poverty Eradication: A journey from poverty to sustainable livelihoods”.

As part of the its contribution to the government’s initiative to eradicate poverty, NFTRC has pledged a free training package on food safety and jam processing for a beneficiary from Matobo Village.

The package, which is estimated at P38, 700 includes free training on jam processing, a starter pack          comprising of jam processing equipment, raw materials, accommodation and meals.

During the Pitso, the beneficiary will participate in the food processing demonstrations to showcase the skills she has acquired from NFTRC.

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2014-02-28 - Progress on QMS

The QMS Coordinator, Dr Mary-Gorettie Binta said quotations are being sought from professional auditors, whose task will be to  identify the risks in each department through a workshop for processes owners.

Dr Binta said through this workshop auditors will assess the levels of each risk identified and will later compile a risk register for National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC).

Mitigations will then be compiled against each risk.

She said meanwhile, all the documents are being numbered by Dr Kenneth Johnstone. 

In addition she indicated that there will be a pilot Management Review meeting where Heads of Departments (HODs) will report on the progress of documentation in preparation for certification against BOB ISO 9001:2008.

She said at this meeting HODs will highlight their achievements, challenges and interventions.

Dr Binta said the minutes of the pilot Management Review meeting will however count towards fulfilling one of the  requirements for certification.

She encouraged HODs to ensure documentation, particularly work instructions in their departments, is given serious attention.

 

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2014-02-14 - NFTRC at IKS Workshop

 National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) was among stakeholders who attended the 5th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Workshop on Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS).

The 10-12 February 2014 workshop, which was held under the theme: Promotion, Protection, Development and Management of IKS, attracted representatives of governments (SADC member states), international agencies, as well as regional and continental institutions.

Its objective was to provide a platform for communities, corporations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and governments to engage in a dialogue to seek the best balance between the protection and use of IKS as well as to build on ongoing activities in the SADC region.

The workshop also provided an appropriate forum for countries to jointly review experiences in IKS and plan future actions through a revitalised network of governments and other institutions such as World   Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), World Bank and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

When officially opening the workshop, the Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology Mr Johnnie Swartz said he was happy that IKS has attracted intellectuals from Southern Africa and encouraged them to curb their dependence on materials from overseas and start writing about products in their respective countries.

Mr Swartz said the theme is appropriate as Batswana pride themselves with IKS which has continuously adapted from generation to generation by providing food and medicine to improve the livelihoods of people in different communities.

He said hosting the workshop has provided Batswana an opportunity to network through presentations and exhibitions, calling on local exhibitors to explore meaningful knowledge that will strengthen their businesses to grow regionally and globally.

The IKS workshop ran concurrently with exhibitions, which served as a platform to showcase poster projects and products  using IKS.

NFTRC exhibited some of its indigenous products like morama products, packaged farm grains, canned serobe and seswaa, ting and lengangale.

 

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2014-02-14 - QMS team assessed

 The Quality Management System (QMS) team was last week assessed the QMS documentation with Mrs Asha Mam from the Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC).

The objective of the session was to get feedback incorporated into the QMS manual and   documentation ready for certification.

When giving a word of encouragement, Mrs Mam said the team had done a wonderful job.

She said for the journey to become easier, the team should cascade the objectives of the manuals to individuals before setting a certification date.

She encouraged the team to energise itself to do things orderly as there is still a lot to be done before certification.

Mrs Mam also encouraged the team members to benchmark with other institutions citing the Kweneng District Council as an example which she said was doing very well.

In her closing remarks, Dr Boitumelo Motswagole thanked the team for being alert during the three-day session and working hard to complete the work. 

Dr Motswagole also thanked Mrs Mam for taking them through the session and giving them quality advice.

 

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2014-02-14 - NFTRC trains on food safety

 This week National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) hosted two-day training on food safety for a group of eight Out of School Education and Training students from Matshelagabedi, Francistown, Mbalambi, Moroka and one from Selebi-Phikwe.

The participants were sentisised on food safety, contaminants, good hygiene practice, personal and environmental       hygiene as well as cleaning and maintenance of equipment.

In her opening remarks, Ms Tumelo Tlhong thanked the participants for taking their precious time and leaving their fields unattended to come to NFTRC to learn this important aspect in their businesses.

Ms Tlhong said their journey will go a long way in strengthening the partnership with NFTRC, adding that they should not fear to communicate with the facilitators whenever they get stuck. 

She said the facilitators hope to find improvements when they visit their businesses because of skills the participants have acquired.

In his closing remarks, Dr Lemogang Kwape applauded the participants for taking the initiative to come to NFTRC to learn about food safety.

Dr Kwape urged the participates not to be discouraged by the huge manual, as it is reference material and to call their facilitators when the need arises.

He encouraged them to work together, learn from each other and utilise the acquired skilled to upgrade their businesses.

One of the participants, Ms Rebecca Sibanda from Moroka said they have come from afar to get the exposure. 

Ms Sibanda promised that the knowledge and skills they have acquired would be utilised appropriately.

She applauded the facilitators for the good job they have done.

 

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2014-02-14 - NFTRC Welcomes New Employees

 The Weekly Bulletin would like to welcome newly employed Research Scientists Ms Susan Thara-Sekgweng (Food Technology) and Ms Basadi Motlhabatlou (Microbiology/Biotechnology).  The duo assumed duty on Monday 3rd February 2014.

Basadi is not new to NFTRC as she was a student intern in Microbiology/Biotechnology from June 2008 to July 2009 before completing her first degree at Vaal University. 

She immediately enrolled for Masters in Biotechnology and graduated in April 2013: CumLaude.

Prior to coming to NFTRC, Basadi worked for Vaal   University for six month as a Laboratory Management Surveyor and later as Lab Technician at the Botswana Agricultural College, Department of Animal Science Production for three months.

Basadi said she enjoys research, likes to be challenged and she is very interested in publishing, which is why she has joined NFTRC.

Meanwhile, Susan said she had been working for Bolux Group Pty (Ltd) on contract for the past three years.

She said she worked one year as a Quality Assistance Manager and two years as a Pasta Production Manager.

She said she is looking forward to new challenges and new expertise at NFTRC.

The duo said they hope to enjoy their stay at NFTRC and they are looking forward to work well with NFTRC staff.

 

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2014-02-03 - Dr Motswagole attends M&E Course

Dr Boitumelo Stokie Motswagole recently attended a five-day Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Course at Stellenbosch University’s School of Public Leadership.

Dr Motswagole says the aim of the introductory course was to lay the foundation for monitoring and evaluating programmes and/or projects. 

She said the main objective the course; whose participants were 99% South African was to  instill monitoring and evaluation systems and practices that focus on delivering outcomes, improving public sector performance and enhancing accountability and good governance. 

She said although the course was biased towards policy framework for monitoring and evaluation in South Africa, the basic concepts can be applied to any programme or project. 

Dr Motswagole said the participants had an opportunity to discuss M&E at programme and project level at their respective places of work and refer to appropriate institutional arrangements that could be put in place to better manage M&E at both strategic and operational levels. 

She said it was beneficial to both herself, National Food Technology Centre and Botswana at large because the trend nowadays is for organisations to be more effective in their operations and delivery of tangible results. 

Since NFTRC since operates on public funding, it is of utmost importance for it to institutionalise M&E, to enable it to assess its progress and also  gauge whether what it does is relevant and making impact to the needs of the food industry in Botswana.

Dr Motswagole therefore urged the NFTRC management to implement M&E to effectively convert the resources from government into valuable outcomes.

‘The course was useful and I chose a topic relevant to Botswana for my assignment,’ she said. 

She said she chose to design an M&E framework for the Vitamin A Supplementation Programme in Botswana, where issues of the implementation strategy, specific objectives, inputs, outputs, process and outcome indicators had to be clearly defined. 

The Weekly Bulletin would like to congratulate Dr Motswagole on this achievement and the value it would add, to not only NFTRC, but also the country at large, especially the recommendations for improving the Vitamin A Supplementary Programme, as it carries much promise for the country’s wellbeing.

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2014-02-03 - Change of departmental name

The “Biochemistry” Department has changed to “Food Chemistry” Department. 

In an interview with the Weekly Bulletin about the change name, the Head of Food Chemistry Department, Dr Kenneth Johnstone said the department mainly works in the area of Food Chemistry (the study of chemicals in foods) rather than Biochemistry (the study of chemical processes in living organisms).

He said almost all members of the NFTRC Food Chemistry department have qualifications and experience in the area of Chemistry, rather than in Biochemistry.

He said the misnomer has impacted the department negatively when trying to recruit staff, as most people who apply would have background in Biochemistry, rather than the Chemistry qualifications that is required to do the work.

Dr Johnstone said the new name would better represent the work done in the department and thus help them overcome challenges with hiring staff in future.

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2014-01-24 - Progress on Quality Management System

The Quality Management System (QMS) team has so far managed to compile and bind  processes, mandatory procedures and ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 17025:2005 manuals.

The QMS Management Representative, Dr Mary-Gorettie Binta said the documents would be   forwarded to the mentor for assessment and discussion with National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) staff over a three-day period in early February.

She said thereafter the mentor would conduct a refresher course for internal auditors and train the QMS team on problem solving using conventional tools.

She said it is very important for staff to write their work instructions, maintain momentum of the implementation of ISO 9001:2008 and ensure customers are always satisfied.

Dr Binta encouraged NFTRC staff to continue with their daily activities despite the  impending merger.

 

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2014-01-24 - NFTRC suffers in the wake of storm

 On Monday morning, National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) staff were shocked to arrive to a gapping hole in the face of their ‘new’ building.

Apparently the window collapsed, sending debris all over the reception area, during a reportedly severe storm in Kanye on Sunday night.

The Head of Human Resources and Administration (HRA), Mrs Tebogo Leu said efforts are underway to repair the damage and having everything back to normal by next week.

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2014-01-24 - NFTRC staff ‘workshopped’

This week the Human Resources Unit workshopped NFTRC staff on the Code of Conduct, Disciplinary and Sexual Harassment Policies.

The workshops, which are one of the resolutions of the Jwaneng Management Retreat, are meant to bring all staff on board, with the hope to instil the desired behaviours of staff to minimise indiscipline.

The Head of Human Resources and Administration (HRA), Mrs Tebogo Leu said managers recommended that staff be workshopped on policies because they was a lot of perceived indiscipline with no action taken against perpetrators, which was affecting general staff performance.

 

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2014-01-21 - Motsu meets and greets NFTRC staff

 The Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary (Corporate  Services)  in  the  Ministry  of Agriculture, Dr Phillimon Motsu on Monday, 13 January 2014 briefly visited National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) to meet and greet staff as well as familirise himself with the organisation’s functions.

In his welcoming remarks, the Acting Managing Director,  Dr  Martin  Kebakile  said that the     courtesy call was to enable Dr Motsu to appreciate what NFTRC is about and meet the people that make it tick.

In his short remarks, Dr Motsu said he came to NFTRC at a time when the organisation is in a          precarious situation because of the impending merger, but encouraged staff not to worry too much and instead continue with NFTRC business as planned.

He said the organisation has an ambitious programme to follow therefore management will need the support of all staff members to push it.

Dr Motsu also said that the ministry, management and staff should work cordially to meet the desired goals.

The visit ended with a tour of NFTRC facilities where research scientists explained their activities.

 

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2014-01-21 - Cornell University Students visit NFTRC

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) on Monday 13 January 2014 hosted three students from Cornell University, United States of America.

The purpose of the visit was for the agribusiness students cum entrepreneurs to appreciate what NFTRC does  and  what  value it can add to their enterprise.  

The  trio  was accompanied by staff member Ms Margaret Lynch and Ms Naomi Makgolo from FoodNet Holdings  Ltd,  a  Bokaa-based company that specialises in piggery, selling pork to wholesalers, retailers and individuals.

Through the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD), Cornell University  works  to  strengthen its capacity for making significant contributions to sustainable global development  by  supporting multidisciplinary research teams with a problem-solving focus, in  partnership with developing country institutions.

The Senior Research Scientist (Food Technology), Mr Selalelo Mpotokwane welcomed the team and gave them an overview of NFTRC as well as a presentation on the Opportunities within the Food Processing Sub-sector in Botswana.

The team was thrilled by what NFTRC does, saying that it could uplift the livelihoods of Batswana at large.

 

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2014-01-21 - Team building exercise

It is now the norm for National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) to counsel and prepare staff members for the coming year on the last day of business every year end.

To this end, December 20, 2013 saw Ms Sally Pillar imparting skills to effect change in one’s life.

Ms Pillar encouraged staff to be open minded, determined and have the will to effect change in their lives for the better.

She said each person should see him or herself enhanced and elevated to a higher level either spiritually and/or emotionally for both personal and professional growth.

She encouraged individuals not to allow thoughts to be influential in their lives, adding that whatever the mind conceives whether positive or negative would eventually happen.

The Weekly Bulletin therefore encourages NFTRC staff to truly have peace of mind and claim all opportunities that come along, as we face another year of many achievements, challenges and lessons.

 

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2013-11-29 - NFTRC equips inmates

 National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) was on Wednesday among stakeholders that  attended  and presented at a workshop for inmates left with less than 12 months to complete their imprisonment.

The aim of the workshop was to  equip  the inmates with knowledge about different programmes that can benefit them once they get out of prison.

Most  of  the  presenters,  who  came  from the agricultural sector, encouraged the inmates to go into the sector upon release.

NFTRC urged the inmates to set up food processing and packaging businesses to make a living.

As the inmates were worried about how people would react to their businesses, they were         encouraged to trust themselves and persevere no matter what.

They were very happy about the presentations and promised to knock on every door for opportunities upon their release.

 

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2013-11-29 - Fionah thanks NFTRC

 

Ms Fionah  Matsagopane  has praised NFTRC for the opportunity it gave her to hone her skills.

She says that she learnt a lot in the time that she was here as  the tasks she was assigned at Supplies were very engaging and thus challenged her to use her time wisely to meet deadlines.

Fionah admits that although it can be challenging to work with people of different backgrounds, it was very interesting for her to learn how to produce  satisfactory  results  under  unpredictable situations. 

She thanked  NFTRC for the  opportunity  and expressed gratitude to her supervisors for arming her with crucial skills that are going to help her in her new job.

Fionah  joined  NFTRC on the 22 of  October  2013 and  completed her attachment on the 22 of November 2013.

 

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2013-11-29 - Selalelo presents at stakeholders workshop

 Mr Selalelo Mpotokwane, Senior Research Scientist (Food Technology), recently attended a Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) stakeholder workshop at the Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA).

The workshop sought to, among others, introduce the research project to various stakeholders and establish a needs assessment  for the users of the indigenous plants of interest: morama, mungongo, mogose and kgengwe  as  a  means to enrich the project.

Selalelo  presented  on “Processing  of Selected Botswana Indigenous Plants – Morama, Mogose, Mungongo, Kgengwe”.

He said the selected raw materials could be processed into products such as vegetable oil, roasted seeds/nuts, nut or seed butter, composite flours, canned vegetables  and  stews,  snacks and beverages.

He  explained  that such agricultural interventions would solidly buttress the agro-processing industry and alleviate prospective food processing entrepreneurs’ fears of failing in business due to shortage or lack of raw material. 

Giving the example of a Cape Town-based company called Seeds for Africa, Selalelo underscored the fact that neighbouring South Africa was quite advanced in the commercialisation and  marketing of plant species, among them indigenous ones, and that there was no reason, therefore, that Botswana should not be able to alleviate poverty and diversify its economy through such commerce.

 

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2013-11-22 - NFTRC exhibits in Tsetseng

 In an endeavor to remain relevant and improve accessibility to its services, the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) last Thursday took its services to the people of Tsetseng in the Ngwaketse West Constituency.

As it is the norm, National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) took the opportunity to educate residents and market its products and services.

Residents of Tsetseng attended the event in satisfactory numbers and showed great interest in all the government initiatives availed to them.

Many that visited the NFTRC stall showed keen interest and promised to come to NFTRC for training to start their own small food processing businesses.

It was intriguing to learn that the people of Tsetseng know about Morama and how to extract oil from it.

In his welcoming remarks, Kgosi Gaothuse thanked the organisers for honouring the people of Tsetseng by giving them the opportunity to host such an important event.

Meanwhile, chairperson of the Kweneng West farmers’ association, Mr Batlhopi, gave the residents of Tsetseng a few ploughing and animal rearing tips.

He encouraged them to be persistence when requesting for help from the government and advised them to form a small society in Tsetseng, to advocate for their needs. .

He concluded by asking farmers to work together, especially on transportation to make it easy for them to access veterinary offices to collect any supplies they may need.

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2013-11-22 - Letsema le bolotse!

 

Kgosi-kgolo ya Ga-Ngwaketse Kgosi Malope II on Friday set his tribe off to plough “go bolotsa letsema”.

Kgosi Malope II encouraged Bangwaketse to make all the necessary preparations so that when the rains come they would start ploughing.

Meanwhile, Debswana (Jwaneng Mine) donated P1 million to Bangwaketse to refurbish their kgotla.

Ms Naledi Dikgomo-Goulden said the donation was part of her company’s corporate social responsibility.

 

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2013-11-22 - NFTRC welcomes new employees

NFTRC has added seven new faces to its stable.

The employees commenced work on Wednesday 13th November 2013and will be posted at Extension & Training,     Microbiology and Biochemistry departments.

 

 

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2013-11-18 - UB students visit

 

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) last Friday hosted final year Applied Botany students and lecturers from University of Botswana (UB).

The purpose of the visit was to expose the students to the applied aspects of Botany.

In his welcome remarks, Dr Bernard Bulawayo boasted of NFTRC, calling its laboratories Botswana’s best equipped.

Dr Bulawayo advised the students and lecturers to allow themselves to make new discoveries, before giving them an overview of NFTRC.

He informed them that the training that NFTRC provides equips potential entrepreneurs with crucial knowledge to help them start businesses, adding that the centre has successfully trained people that are now active in the Botswana food industry.

One of the students Silas, asked about the Skills Transfer Training fees, and was shocked to hear that NFTRC charges P1600.

The shockwave ran through to the other students as they believed that the fees are too high, but got comforted after learning that the fee includes meals, learning materials and a BOTA accredited certificate on completion of the one week course.

Another student Gaone enquired about internships and wanted to know what sort of study field NFTRC recruits and was informed that NFTRC recruits students from any field of study, more especially students in the analytical science fields because that is its core focus. 

The students applauded NFTRC for the wonderful job it is doing for the nation, adding that even though what it does is not relevant to their studies, they appreciated the reception and the exposure.

 

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2013-11-18 - Juda attends FAO/IAEA workshop

 

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently organised four-day workshop for African states

National Food Technology Research Centre Research Scientist Mr Juda Bogopa, represented Botswana at the workshop, which was hosted by the Botswana National Veterinary laboratory from 28 October 1 November 2013.

The purpose of the workshop was to enhance food-monitoring capabilities of member states to target food safety through a Total Diet Study approach for risk assessment and to deliberate on common challenges associated with analytical instrumentation in food safety and environmental health laboratories.

The workshop attracted international experts in the area of food contaminants with resource people from both regulatory and research institutions.

When opening the workshop, Mr James Sasanya (IAEA technical expert and Food Safety specialist) said such workshops come because of the IAEA’s concept of the peaceful uses initiative (PUI) on using atoms in helping countries develop, hence nuclear techniques in Food and Agriculture.

Mr Sasanya emphasised the need for regional collaboration, adding that the IAEA has since embarked on discouraging the unsustainable use of expensive equipment amongst members.

He also introduced the AFRA regional project, which is composed of 13 African member states whose aim is to promote food safety and further encouraged the nations to collaborate and share the use of expensive equipment in their institutions.

Mr Sasanya highlighted that IAEA likes sponsoring collaborated projects as working together makes it easier to get regional projects funded.

The other experts included Ms Rufina Acheampong and Dr David Mortimer of Food Standards Agency (FSA) UK, Dr Martin Rose of the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA), UK and Professor Mathew Muzi Nindi of the University of South Africa.

The workshop was co-sponsored by Agilent Technologies with its arms of chromatography represented by Chemitrix and spectroscopy represented by SMM instruments who also presented their technologies and after sale services available to enhance regional research.

Mr Bogopa said this will benefit NFTRC’s efforts in building capacity on residue analysis (Mycotoxin and pesticides analysis) as it formed good ground for regional collaboration and networking.

 

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2013-11-18 - Sarah attends BPC Lesedi Seminar

 

On Thursday the 7th of November 2013, Dr Sarah Matenge attended a stakeholder business seminar on “Promotion of local entrepreneurship in Sekhutlane” hosted jointly by BPC Lesedi and the Swedish NGO SusBiz. 

Representatives from the Southern District Council, BPC Lesedi Acting General Manager Mr Tanguy Boussard, Mr Kenalekgotla Sebolao, a business consultant of Mma-Onkwe Agric (Pty) Ltd, SuzBiz representative from Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden, Dr Patrick Klintenberg and community representatives from Sekhutlane attended the seminar.

When giving a key note address, Mr Boussard said that the overall objectives of developing a Sustainable Village Concept (SVC) were to: Provide electricity to rural un-electrified communities through off-grid renewable energy systems; contribute to improved livelihoods of rural population by facilitating business development (SMEs) by local entrepreneurs and ensuring sustainable operations and maintenance of the energy system in each village funded by payments received for electricity used.

Mr Boussard revealed that BPC Lesedi was established to achieve economic prosperity, especially with the demands in rural areas, adding that Sekhutlane village will be electrified in the first quarter of 2014.

Expounding on the business concept, Mr Kenalekgotla Sebolao said specific business ideas were identified with the help of community representatives and 16 business plans developed covering areas of food processing, poultry, cattle breeding and brick making.

The objective of the BPC Lesedi stakeholder seminar in Pitsane was to brief stakeholers on the SVC project; give progress made on the electrification of Sekhutlane village and to match-make stakeholders and aspiring entrepreneurs to provide valuable knowledge and skills transfer, which they can use to kick-start their own projects at various scales.

BPC Lesedi (Pty) Ltd is a joint venture between Electricité de France (EDF) and Botswana Power Corporation (BPC).

 

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2013-11-11 - NFTRC attends Market Day

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) on Friday exhibited some of its products at a Market Day in Kanye.

In his welcoming remarks, Mr Enock Dikobe of LEA said that the day was very special because it gives Small and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) the needed exposure and a chance to network.

He said LEA had received many complaints from SMMEs about very low uptake of their goods and services, hence the theme of the day “Unleashing untapped opportunities for SMMEs.”

A Marketing Specialist from LEA, Mr Moffat said the objective of the day was to give exhibitors a chance to show consumers what products and services they offer to help increase sales.

He encouraged exhibiters to be patient and use the day to know their competitors, establish their future suppliers and increase their customer base.

He said such platforms allow exhibitors to share experiences, find ways to improve their selling strategies as well as to get instant feedback on how they can improve their products and services.

 

Mr Moffat advised participants to sell quality products, at reasonable prices and ensure that supply meets demand every time to stay relevant to the needs of customers.

Ms J. Coagae, a bakery owner, said one needs patience, passion and persistence to run a business in Botswana.

 She pleaded with her fellow entrepreneurs to work together, support each other and never shy off when selling their products.

She encouraged exhibitors to stay focused and keep motivated even when people mock and belittle their efforts to make something of their lives.

Ms Coagae also advised business owners to be hands on in their businesses, and ‘becomes slaves’ to ensure they have a steady income.

When closing the event, Mr S. Majelantle from LEA thanked all stakeholders and exhibitors for attending, emphasising that business owners should use such opportunities to share knowledge, challenges and marketing strategies to create lasting impressions.

Although very few consumers attended, NFTRC stall received some aspiring entrepreneurs that were eager to know about training and the different products and services on offer.

Phane soup, Morama milk and oil, donkey segwapa and dried ting intrigued people that visited the stall.

They requested NFTRC to make samples to give consumers and aspiring entrepreneurs an opportunity to know what the products taste like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2013-11-01 - NFTRC equips potential entrepreneurs

 

The whole of last week National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) was engaged in equipping potential entrepreneurs with skills on fruit and vegetable processing.

The training was said to be a success as it hosted 21 participants from all around Botswana.

Most of participants were women sponsored by the Department of Gender Affairs, while the rest were self-sponsored individuals.

Dr Lemogang Kwape, who gave out certificates at the graduation ceremony, urged participants to use the skills acquired to better their lives.

One of the participants, Ms Moipone Tiroyaone thanked the President of Botswana for his generous efforts in eradicating poverty.

Ms Tiroyaone also thanked the Gender Affairs department for the sponsorship and NFTRC trainers for their patience during the training.

She said that even though there was a lot of information to absorb, which resulted in her falling asleep at some point, the trainers never surrendered.

The participants assured NFTRC that they will utilise the valuable skills they acquired to better their lives when they get back home.

 

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2013-11-01 - Fionah joins NFTRC

 

Ms Fionah Matsagopane joined National Food     Technology Research Centre on industrial attachment attached at Supplies Department until     December 2013.

Fionah is a Graduate Intern from Boitekanelo  Training institution where she pursued Health Care Management which comprised administration courses.

She said the administration courses allow her to work in any institution more especially health related ones, adding that prior to coming to NFTRC she was attached at Sekgoma Memorial Hospital in  Serowe.

Fionah said she joined NFTRC because she wanted to change location and learn what other institutions are all about.

She said she believes the exposure and experience from NFTRC will benefit her in her future           endeavours.

 

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2013-10-25 - Tonota Farmers Lead the Way

This year ‘s World Food Day was an eye opener for many in Tonota village and its environs who only knew about the Molapo farmers but had never beheld the beauty that is the work they do.

Many Batswana are rainfed farmers who only depend on the Almighty to make it rain for them to then till the land and get food, but the Moji family and Ms Mikkie Matenge have ventured into irrigation farming, taking advantage of the abundant waters of the Shashe River.

These adventurous people have ‘taken the bull by the horns’ and did not wait for government to help them as is the case with many in this country and lo and behold their hard work is beginning to bear fruit as their farms have now been put on the map after hosting this year’s event.

Incidentally, the trio is not the only serious ones in the area, as there are a number of women, a lot of them young, who have taken on this generally challenging venture called farming.

This is a challenge to other young people in other parts of the country, where there are rivers and other water sources, to venture into irrigation farming.

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) participated at the event, held under the theme: “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition” to encourage Batswana to take up its technologies to start food processing/manufacturing businesses.

The many, who visited the stall, were fascinated by what ‘their normal Setswana foods’ can be turned into with a little bit of Science and Technology.

This is also, where the NFTRC met some fascinating characters that see farming and processing as possible ‘cash cows’, which need to be milked.

One Thabo, who is in the export industry was so taken with NFTRC prototypes that she promised to visit and possibly take up the technologies for export as a lot of people on the African continent love to ‘buy Botswana’ products.

World Food Day is commemorated under the auspices of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO); this year it was celebrated on 16 October 2013

The day is also about calling for changes to agriculture and food supply systems. This year’s theme was chosen to highlight and raise awareness of the problems and the solutions to food security and ridding the world of hunger.  

 

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2013-10-25 - NFTRC hosts IAEA Fellow

 National Food technology Research Centre is hosting Mr Dillon     Mukelabai Mubalu, a Zambian Fellow of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on training in Body composition, Deuterium  dilution and FTIR techniques.

Mr Mubalu, who works for the Zambian Government is with NFTRC for one month from 22 October to 21 November 201He is also a member of the upcoming project of breastfeeding in his country said the capacity building training at NFTRC would enable him to fit in with the rest of the team members. 

He said the training would not only benefit him, but the nation of Zambia at large because after training he would prepare a report which will be accessible to everybody.

Mr Mubalu said he hopes his stay in Botswana will assist him to grasp a few Setswana sayings, adding that he is looking forward to work well the NFTRC staff.

 

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2013-10-25 - MP Modubule meets constituents

This week National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) continued its efforts of reaching out to   Batswana by presenting at kgotla meetings addressed by the Member of Parliament for Lobatse Mr Nehemiah Modubule.

Ms Kemelo Ookeditse encouraged the residents to take up NFTRC technologies to improve their livelihoods, as well as assist in eradicating poverty in the country.

She also encouraged residents who are involved in the food industry to always test their products before taking them into the market.

Residents  expressed the desire and eagerness to come to NFTRC for training.

 

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2013-09-20 - NFTRC at Mahotshwane

 

In its quest to avail its services to people in all parts of the country, especially the hard to reach areas, the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) last week Thursday visited Mahotshwane in the Ngwaketse West constituency.

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) went along to display some of its products, especially Morama, at the event held under the theme: “Taking MoA to the people”.

Kgosi Mohurutshe Maipolelo welcomed the ministry to his village and said he was humbled by the large number of residents who were eager to receive the services brought to them and thanked the ministry for the gesture.

Kgosi Maipolelo encouraged residents to take advantage of all available opportunities to improve their livelihoods.

Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary (Support Services) in the ministry, Mr Boweditswe Masilo said the event was an opportunity for the residents to appreciate and learn more about the ministry to better utilise its services.

Mr Masilo encouraged them to vaccinate their small stock regularly, warning however that prices for livestock medication have gone up and advised farmers to group themselves to contribute towards purchasing such.

He encouraged them to rear small stock for business instead of as relish for weddings and funerals.

Residents, more especially the youths were enthralled by Morama (dichama in their native language) and they promise to visit NFTRC for training.

 

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2013-09-06 - Students sensitised on GMOs

 

On Tuesday, National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) hosted students and teachers from Ramotswa Junior Secondary School on an educational tour.

The objective of the tour was for students and teachers to be sensitised on genetically modified organisms, (GMOs), which is part of their syllabus in Moral Education.

The students and teachers were welcomed by Ms Kemelo Ookeditse, before Mr Gaone Mokhawa, explained genetically modified organism (GMO).

Mr Mokhawa said GMOs are not easily identifiable through the naked eye, adding that they can be used for several purposes including biofuel production, clotting factors to treat haemophilia, and human growth hormones to treat various forms of dwarfism.

In addition, he said various genetically engineered microorganisms are used as sources of enzymes to manufacture a variety of processed foods.

Mr Mokhawa said the potential dangers of GMOs are genetic pollution, which might lead to extinction of naturally occurring organism and allergies or toxic materials.

He said the moral issues arising from the use of GMOs includes their unknown long term impact on the food chain; critics objecting to GM crops on several grounds, ecological concerns and economic concerns raised by the fact that these organisms are subject to intellectual property law.

He said countries are involved in controversies with respect to whether food produced from GM crops is safe and whether they are needed to address the world's food needs.

He said research on the qualitative and quantification of GMOs in processed foods in Botswana has showed that GMOs are present and mostly coming from other countries since Botswana does not grow GMOs and that a policy on the regulation and use of GMOs has been drafted.

At the end students and staff had the opportunity of raising questions relating the presentation while, one of the students, Ms Gorata Mbozwa thanked NFTRC for awarding them the opportunity to receive such an informative lesson.

She said the information they got would be applied accordingly not only in their moral education studies but also in the science subjects.

 

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2013-09-06 - National Agricultural Show

This year’s national agricultural show seemed different as visitors to the National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) stall were more interactive, which kept staff members in high spirits as they gave out the needed information.

About 104 visitors showed interest to come to the organisation for training, consultancy or partnership.

NFTRC was also honoured to receive some high-ranking members of society in the likes of Kgosi Mosadi Seboko and the former president Sir Ketumile Masire, whom it is hoped would spread the good news about the organisation.

Ms Thatayaone Kepaletswe thanked staff members who manned the stall for their cooperation, team spirit and hard work.

She said she was humbled by the passion, professionalism and seamlessness with which the customers were served as well as the camaraderie displayed while executing the job.

She expressed the hope that the spirit would continue as they serve NFTRC in other spheres.

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2013-08-30 - National Agricultural Show

The National Agricultural Show, whose theme is “Transforming Agriculture in the wake of Climate Change”, started on 26 August, and shall end on 31 August 2013.

The shows are a tradition in Botswana that brings together the Ministry of Agriculture, farmers and stakeholders to enjoy the benefit of farming, to show the country’s potential, to consolidate and showcase past achievements and to promote the good policies available to attract local and foreign investors.

The guest of honour, Debswana Managing Director, Mr Jim Gowans said this show was yet another milestone showcasing achievements of the agricultural sector, in order to cultivate interest among potential farmers for them to see that agriculture is a possible business venture.

Mr Gowans said if most people could start engaging in farming, given the population of the country, Botswana would become self-sufficient in food production.

He said the event is very important because with the right effort and resources, agriculture can make a major contribution to the diversification of the economy and contribute to our nation’s food self-sufficiency.

He said Debswana Diamond Company is proud to have been a major driver of the economic development of this nation over years now, and has contributed to the building of schools, hospitals, roads, just to mention a few – in short, diamond revenues have turned the nation’s dream for development into a lasting reality.

Mr Gowans said Debswana’s commitment and support to the agricultural sector is demonstrated by the annual sponsorship of the event to the tune of P600 000.00 for the past five years, which has increased to P700 000.00 this year.

He said with regard to the current theme, which was used last year and would be used next year as well, Botswana like many other countries in the world, has not been spared the adverse effects of climate change.  The effects include amongst others, extreme weather conditions and recurrent droughts, which have led to high losses in agricultural production.

He said adapting the same theme is therefore meant to emphasise the impact that climate has on agriculture, and the need for Botswana as a country to respond to this challenge.

Mr Gowans said apart from climate change other challenges that agriculture is faced with include the insufficiency of basic infrastructure such as roads, market facilities, power, water and telecommunications, adding that animal and plants diseases as well as pests have been major challenges posing direct threat to human life, public health and to agriculture.

He however highlighted that agriculture depends mainly on rainfall, and in spite of the fact that Botswana’s rains are erratic and unreliable already, rainfall has been a limiting factor to the sector’s capacity.

That being said, he was pleased to note that the Ministry of Agriculture has sought and obtained a grant from the African Development Bank to fund a study to establish the feasibility of using effluent water for irrigation in various localities in the country, and if found feasible the project is expected to go a long way in alleviating the water shortage problem in agriculture.

In his remarks the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Christiaan De Graaf said that the theme is relevant because farmers cannot remain stuck in primitive ways of doing things, as climate change calls for transformation.

The Minister said while the Ministry encouraged farmers particularly during this time to be involved in food production at household level, there is a dire need to grow and move from subsistence to commercial production in order to increase the sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) had an opportunity to scout for partners in its quest to assist Botswana to become self-reliant in food production, as well as the national poverty eradication and economic diversification drives.

After receiving a loaded message about NFTRC’s products and services, people who visited the organisation’s stall had the opportunity to taste various products made from different donkey meat cuts.

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2013-08-30 - Nutrition Department disseminate results

 

On Friday 23 August, the Nutrition and Dietetics Department held a seminar to disseminate the results of the project entitled ‘The Efficacy of Micronutrient-fortified Sorghum Meal in Improving the Immune Status of HIV-positive Adults in Kanye’ to the Kanye District Health Team and clinic staff. 

The objective of the seminar was to share the results with stakeholders in the district as they were partners in the implementation of this project. 

In his welcome remarks the Acting Managing Director, Dr Martin Kebakile highlighted the need for researchers to share findings with relevant stakeholders and partners.  He also invited the health workers who were present to make suggestions on the type of research that NFTRC could focus on in future.

When presenting the results, the Principal Research Scientist, Dr Boitumelo Stokie Motswagole said the understanding of the role of micronutrients in HIV infection is increasing rapidly, however most of the research has been conducted in developed countries. 

Dr Motswagole said the study was an attempt to generate context-specific data that relates to the function of vitamin A in immunity.  Vitamin A through its active metabolite altrans retinoic acid (atRA) has been known to be a potent stimulator of T-helper cell development; this is achieved through increased clonal expansion and yield of interleukin-4 (IL4), a protein that stimulates the immune system to develop mast cells, resting T-cells, and activated B-cells. 

She said it was therefore hypothesized that if the vitamin A status is increased the immune function of HIV+ individuals will also improve.  This will lead to delayed disease progression and therefore improvement in the quality of life.

Dr Motswagole said the findings after 12 months intervention indicated clearly that the sorghum meal fortified with micronutrients including vitamin A was not efficacious in improving the immune status of HIV+ adults. 

She said this observed lack of benefit can however be due to several reasons such as the heterogeneity of participants in terms of HIV disease stage, length of time on antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, the intake of supplements and others. 

During the discussion the audience raised issues that could be looked at in future studies of this nature, adding that the study was valuable and should be revisited with different parameters. 

In closing Dr Motswagole thanked all those who took part in the seminar, particularly the health workers who assisted in the implementation of the project protocol.  She assured them that they will always be partners in studies of this nature and should feel free to make an input in order to guide research activities.

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2013-08-29 - National Agricultural Show 2013

The National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) will participate at the National Agricultural Show scheduled for August 26-31.

The show will be held under the theme “transforming agriculture in the wake of climate change”.

NFTRC will use the show to intensify its efforts to encourage Batswana to take up its products and services to assist Botswana’s self-reliance in food production, poverty eradication and economic diversification drives.

The central message is that processing, preservation, diversification and value-addition of all locally available food produce is the way to go for the benefit of the country and its inhabitants.

It is worth noting that many Batswana still shun food manufacturing though it can ensure income generation, poverty eradication and employment creation.

The theme is apt as Botswana is currently experiencing unreliable and erratic rains, pests and heat.

NFTRC believes a robust food processing industry would encourage producers to produce more because they would be assured of a market.

Visitors would also have the opportunity to taste different donkey cuts.

 

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2013-08-29 - Progress on the upgrade of sewage system

 

It has been months since the National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) announced the upgrading of its sewage system, which is spilling causing a health hazard not only to staff members but also to animals that drink the unclean water.

The Weekly Bulletin caught up with the Acting Managing Director, Dr Martin Kebakile to know what has transpired since the upgrading was expected to start sometime in April.

Dr Kebakile said it was difficult to award the tender because some companies tendered for design, others for construction while others tendered for both and they were all way too expensive.

He said the issue was taken back to the then Board of Directors who gave the Tendering Committee time to re-tender and also o engage the Engineering Department at the University of Botswana (UB) to assist with the designs to meet NFTRC requirements.

Dr Kebakile said UB engineers visited NFTRC on 16 August 2013 to re-assess the situation and the site after which it was agreed that the designs be ready for implementation within two weeks.

He said once the design is done the re-tendering process would start, with the cost element under close check.

 

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2013-08-16 - Botswana Testing Laboratory System launched

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) was among stakeholders who graced the launch of Botswana Testing Laboratory System (BTLS) on 13 August 2013 in Gaborone.

BTLS was established in 2009 as an association of testing laboratories to promote quality laboratory services and enhance laboratory capacity within the country.

NFTRC attended in its capacity as a member of BTLS Executive Committee represented by Mr Juda Bogopa.

When officially launching BTLS, its patron and Chief Executive Officer of De Beers Botswana Mr Neo Moroka, said he agreed to be patron  because he saw the importance of the association as a player in the economic development of Botswana.

Mr Moroka said “Quality Testing Systems are not a luxury but an economic imperative”, adding that the establishment of BTLS will ensure that Botswana develops goods and services that conform to international standards.

He said BTLS will help to attract investors because they will have the assurance of the availability of quality testing laboratories.

Mr Moroka urged BTLS to strive to give life to President Lt General Ian Khama’s vision of Botswana moving from an upper middle class economy to a fully developed economy.

He encouraged members, as experts in their scope of testing, to place Botswana at the same levels of quality assurance with its own testing facilities.

He called for the support of both the government and the private sector and thanked those organisations which contributed towards the launch.

Mr Moroka urged the media to publicise BTLS and its products.

The Metrology Institute of Germany (PTB) sponsored the launch, where NFTRC exhibited its products and services.

 

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2013-08-15 - DC & CS meet and greet

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) on Wednesday 07 August 2013 hosted the new Southern District Commissioner (DC) and Council Secretary (CS) for a meet and greet session.

When welcoming them, the acting Managing Director, Dr Martin Kebakile said it was good for the two to meet the NFTRC management team and tour its facilities to see first-hand what the centre is capable of and the challenges it faces.

Dr Kebakile said NFTRC, the district administration and council should work together for the good of both the people of the Southern District and the country at large.

He expressed gratitude for the positive response from the district leadership, calling for more linkages and partnerships to address the mandates of all three institutions.

In response, the DC, Mr Moses Gaealafswe thanked NFTRC for the invitation, concurring that indeed all sectors need to partner to move the country forward.

He urged NFTRC to market itself more aggressively as a lot of people still do not either know or understand its mandate and what value it can add, not only to their lives but to the economy of Botswana.

Mr Gaealafswe urged NFTRC to position itself well to benefit from and maybe even add value to the soon to be introduced home-grown school feeding programme.

Meanwhile, the Council Secretary Mr Mompati Seleka called for collaboration and partnership between all stakeholders to harness available technologies and other resources to assist the people that the institutions are meant to serve.

He advised NFTRC to liaise with extension officers in the different institutions in districts to better deliver.

He reiterated the importance of linkages across the diverse sectors to derive maximum benefit from the little available resources.

The session ended with a tour of NFTRC laboratories.

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2013-08-15 - Bye Bye Puli

I know that we meet to part and part to meet, but it was sweet sorrow saying goodbye to Pulane Mswela on Monday 05 August 2013.

I am happy that Pulane will now have more time with her family, working in Gaborone and all, but it is a loss for National Food Technology Research Centre.

We seem to be saying goodbye to way too many colleagues within a very short space of time, which is disconcerting.

I know that there will always be separations but not this many so close to each other – just recently it was former Finance Manager Helen Mokoma, last week it was Patrick Jansen the former IT Manager and now it is

Pulane.

I almost shudder to think who is next, but what is done is done and there is no point ‘crying over spilled milk’, so on to the important stuff.

Thatayaone: Pulane where are you off to in such a hurry?

Pulane: In a hurry indeed. . . . I got a job at the University of Botswana as a lecturer. They urgently needed someone as it is the beginning of the semester hence my quick departure.

Thatayaone: How long have you been with NFTRC?

Pulane: I joined NFRC on the 7th October 2008

Thatayaone: What value has NFTRC added to you?

Pulane: Well NFTRC has helped me grow professionally. Most importantly, I have learnt to deal with different challenges when doing research. I am a tougher researcher who now knows to always have an alternative plan. I have a keen interest in QMS and through NFTRC; I have had the privilege of being trained on this.

Thatayaone: What value do you think you added to NFTRC?

Pulane: I leave behind data from the research I was carrying out. This may be used for publications and it can be used to complete Tempeh product development. I have also been able to put NFTRC on the international scientific map by having abstracts accepted by international conferences.

Thatayaone: How would you like us (your former colleagues) to remember you?

Pulane: hehehe. . .I guess each person will have their own way of remembering me depending on the interactions we have had. I hope most will remember me in a positive way that puts a smile on their face! Each interaction has certainly made me grow as an individual. I will certainly miss my former colleagues.

Thatayaone: I will remember you for your zest to assist – I remember roping you into the year-end event organising committee in 2011 and the enthusiasm with which you took up the challenge, not to mention the many times you willingly chauffeured me to Gabs, when I wasn’t feeling well and even when I just needed to be driven.

I will not forget the number of farewells, bridal and baby-showers you were so eager to organise! Thank you from both NFTRC and myself personally – pula e go nele tseleng!

Pulane---------Thanks MmaGofaone! I love organising events. Salang sentle tlhe batho.

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2013-08-15 - Welcome Back Nani & Finta

 

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) is happy to welcome two of ‘its daughters’ back from a three year hiatus in the United Kingdom.

Semme Mooketsi and Nani Leteane were away studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Innovative Business at the British Institute of Technology and e-Commerce.

The duo was away from September 2010 to June 2013. Welcome back ladies!

 

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2013-08-15 - Gakgatla Primary visits NFTRC

 

The National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) on Monday 29 July 2013 hosted pupils, teachers and members of Parents Teachers Association (PTA) from Gakgatla Primary School.

The aim of the visit for the pupils to appreciate what NFTRC does and encourage them to develop a passion for science subjects at tender age.

The visitors thanked NFTRC for affording them an opportunity to learn first-hand about the food research institution.

The batch of pupils and teachers was the last for this schools holiday season, as NFTRC has been hosting schools almost every week since the recess began at the end of June.

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2013-08-15 - Debswana ups show sponsorship

The Acting Managing Director of Debswana, Mr Balisi Bonyongo on Monday 29 July 2013 revealed that his company had increased its sponsorship of the National Agricultural Show.

Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony of the judging ring at the Agricultural Show ground, Mr Bonyongo said Debswana increased the sponsorship by P100 000 from P600 000 to P700 000.

He said Debswana is proud to be a partner in the socio-economic development of Botswana – through support of various areas of the economy.

He commended the government for spending a lot of money on agriculture and called on Batswana to move from the entitlement mentality to engagement.

Mr Bonyongo said though its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is small, agriculture touches the lives of all Batswana.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Christiaan De Graaff, applauded Debswana for continuing to invest in farming relentlessly.

Mr De Graaff said “the overwhelming and unwavering support by Debswana will go a long a way in driving the strategic developments of agriculture in Botswana.

He emphasised that, had it not been through the partnership his ministry enjoys with the private sector, the testimony of the magnificent show facility would not have been told.

The minister said: “If indeed if we continue on the same vain in developing this crucial sector, I assure you food insecurity will be a thing of the past”.

He challenged all Batswana to work hard to fully optimise the use of scarce resources to develop agriculture and feed the nation.

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2013-08-15 - NFTRC on Masa-a-sele

 

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) was on Tuesday 30 July 2013 on Radio Botswana’s Masa-a-sele programme to interest Batswana to take up its products and services to improve their lives and/or help diversify the country’s economy.

The Public Relations Manager, Ms Thatayaone Mmamosese Kepaletswe informed the listeners about NFTRC mandate, products and services. 

She said the government has funded an agroprocessing plant in the Selebi Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) area through the poverty eradication programme.

Most of the listeners urged NFTRC to spread its wings to other parts of the country for its services to benefit everyone.

They also wanted NFTRC to participate in regional agricultural shows to interact with most people who go there. 

Listeners wanted NFTRC to consider introducing payment terms for training fees, as well as lamenting the none provision of accommodation for trainees.

One listener, Mr Sangwana complimented NFTRC for the discovery of mycotoxin in peanut butter, adding that Batswana will have trust in the organisation.

Listeners also advised NFTRC to work hand in hand with balemisi, who could advice farmers on how to plough to end up producing enough food for the whole country.

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2013-07-26 - Agroprocessing plant gets green light

 

It is all systems for the agroprocessing plant in the Selebi Phikwe Economic Development Unit (SPEDU) area.

At a stakeholders committee on the establishment of the horticultural produce processing and packaging plant in the Selebi Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) area on Wednesday, it was revealed that government had approved the requisite P6 million for the project.

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) has been tasked to spearhead the setting up of the plant, which is expected to be up and running by January next year.

Emphasising the importance of the project, the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President, Dr John Mothibi said it would give more impetus to the backyard gardening initiative, as the beneficiaries would know there is a readily available market for their produce.

He urged the committee to hit the ground running and deliver the project as expected because the government sees it as a social responsibility initiative, which cannot be delayed or allowed to falter in any way.

The stakeholder committee resolved to meet monthly to monitor the implementation of the project, with sub-committees formed to ensure smooth delivery of the different facets of the historic project.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi has   announced the partnership between government and NFTRC in running the plant, which will use among others, produce from backyard gardens.

Mr Masisi said, "given the increased focus on agricultural production and the extensive roll out of the backyard garden package, the output from gardens is expected to escalate as the market for the produce is assured’.

He added that the plant is meant to process beetroot, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage and onions into longer shelf life products such as pickled beetroot, tomato puree, mixed vegetable sauce, vegetable atchar, pickled onion and dried vegetables’.

 

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2013-07-26 - Projects takes off

 

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) has for years been running with insufficient funds which led to stagnation of some projects.

But that is yesterday’s story because the institution was this financial year given ‘a shot in the arm’ to   revive some of them.

The Weekly Bulletin had a chart with some Heads of Department to get to feel of how they were progressing and this is what they had to say:

Dr Kenneth Johnstone, Principal Research Scientist - Biochemistry said they have started placing orders for consumables, to kick-start some of their routine activities.

Dr Johnstone said another expectation is for the       Human Resources Department to advertise the          Assistant Research Scientists/Technicians posts.

He said the engagement assistants would free  Research Scientists from routine testing to now concentrate on research and publications, which he hopes will drastically improve the momentum of research at NFTRC.

He said it was quite discouraging to find          researchers doing routine testing, adding        however, that with the availability of funds things will run as expected.

Dr Johnstone said the department is engaged in two major projects. First is the mycotoxins     project, where he said they are hoping to       complete analysis of samples collected from farms and shops in the southern region and later cover the rest of the country.

He said with the pesticides project, they are     hoping to validate the methods and start testing in the southern region, adding that later when the proposed agro-processing plant in the SPEDU area is up and running, the department would offer tests to it, which will benefit the centre.

Dr Mary Gorethe Binta, Principal Research Scientist – Biotechnology/Microbiology said though the money came very late, they are requesting quotations for consumables, new equipment, service and calibration of the existing equipment. 

Dr Binta said the challenge they are going to face is late delivery of goods because most of their suppliers are in South Africa and have to wait to have a big               consignment in order to deliver goods in Botswana.

She however expressed her desire to have a special vote for money raised from charging clients, which the     department could use for the day-to-day activities.

She said when they eventually start their customers will be happy as they would test more GMO samples.

Dr Binta proposed sharing of technicians/assistants among departments to get maximum benefit from them as the organisation does not have money to engage more.

Mrs Tebogo Tlhabuswe-Leu, Head of Human           Resources and Administration lamented that they have not been given enough money for training.

Mrs Tlhabuswe-Leu said the department is unable to fill the critical posts or even reward those that have   performed well. 

She said even so the organisation will survive, adding that she is existed because the research projects that are the core mandate of NFTRC have been revived and hopefully through research, funds will be generated to uplift the welfare of the employees.

 

 

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2013-07-26 - JAB entrepreneurs impressed

 

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) on Tuesday hosted Junior Achievement Botswana (JAB) student entrepreneurs from Ranokanyane, Mannathoko and Patikwane Junior Secondary Schools in Serowe.

The objective of the visit was for the young entrepreneurs to learn about NFTRC’s   mandate, products and service as well as how it could help them in their businesses.

The Managing Directors of the youth    businesses said they are involved in      business projects such as juice processing, manufacturing of lamps and leather      products.

They said they are hoping to increase their projects next term, adding that the visit to NFTRC would assist to enhance their   businesses as they would copy what the centre does and benchmark where possible.

The student entrepreneurs were inspired by NFTRC's work, more, especially what it does with veldt        products.

They were grateful to NFTRC for affording them the opportunity to visit its facilities and expressed the     desire to work with NFTRC in future.

 

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2013-07-02 - Dr Kebakile is Acting Managing Director

 

Dr Martin Kebakile has been appointed the Acting Managing Director (MD) of National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC).

Announcing the appointment on Tuesday 25 June 2013, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Micus Chimbombi urged all stakeholders to rally behind the acting MD and take the institution to greater heights.

Dr Chimbombi encouraged Dr Kebakile to rise to the challenge by leading and building a bigger and better NFTRC, while requesting staff to render support by improving on service delivery.

In accepting the challenge, Dr Kebakile said at first he was reluctant to take up the post but then asked himself why not because there is NFTRC 2016 strategic plan to guide him.

He said he counts on support from staff members.

Dr Kebakile said his first and immediate assignment would be to motivate staff to assure the public and stakeholders that NFTRC is an important player in the Botswana economy.

The staff congratulated Dr Kebakile on his appointment.

 

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2013-07-02 - Keontse bids NFTRC goodbye

There is a time for everything and Mr Keontse Mothibedi’s time to leave NFTRC is finally here.

Keontse, who joined NFTRC on 25 October 2011 as a graduate intern attached at Public Relations Department thanked NFTRC staff member for the support they gave him during his tenure.

He expressed sincere gratitude to the Public Relations staff for moulding him into a professional ready to take on any job offer.

He thanked his supervisor for teaching him many aspects of the communications/public relations field.

Keontse also thanked Mr Rod Nkepu for supporting him in trying to find a job as he always brought him the DailyNews.

He said to some extend he felt that ‘Mr Rod’ understood the situation of being an intern in this difficult era.

He said he has great moments about NFTRC and believes the company can grow bigger and impact the lives of Batswana.

He wished everyone well to achieve goals and give the new Managing Director the necessary support for a common goal.

 

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2013-07-02 - NFTRC at Musi/Sedibeng Field Day

 

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) was on Saturday 22 June 2013 among invitees who attended Musi/Sedibeng Farmer’s Cluster Field Day which was held at Farm 6 owned by Mr Eric Molale.

The purpose of the field day was to exhibit farm machinery, give advice to farmers on optimal use of technology for greater returns and to give professional advice on fertilisers and safe chemical application on crops.

In his welcome remarks Kgosi Daniel Mathiba said they are were astounded by the large number of people who attended the inception activity which brought farmers together to learn from each other and ultimately come up with quality products to feed the nation.

Kgosi Mathiba said the called on government and other stakeholders to assist farmers with significant loans to buy required machinery, which he said is not only expensive to buy but also to maintain.

He said sometimes they experience losses and waste because they borrow machinery from each other.

The other speaker Mr Eric Molale said he was honoured to host the event, which he said also created employment for the residents of Musi and Sedibeng. 

He pleaded with the residents to refrain from stealing diesel, solar panels, electric cables and the produce because this will discourage farmers. 

The guest speaker, Minister of Transport and Communication and Member of Parliament for Selebi Phikwe, Mr Nonofo Molefi  said he was impressed by the farmers’ come together and encouraged them to produce more and diversify the economy.

The Minister said 60% of locally consumed food is imported and thus applauded Musi/Sedibeng farmers’ efforts in curbing that trend as well as the influx of genetically modified foods into Botswana.

To this end, the Mr Molefi called on BAMB to introduce financial schemes that can assist committed commercial farmers instead of just buying the produce.

He said he would liaise with his counterpart, Minister to Agriculture to bring telecommunications and roads infrastructure to farm to motivate farmers to reach their intended goals and objectives.

He encouraged farmers to benchmark from those in neighbouring countries on how they go about improving their farming.

Finally, Mr Molefi called upon insurance companies to invest in farming projects.

NFTRC displayed its products and services at occasion.

 

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2013-07-02 - NFTRC addresses Khakhea residents

 

On Friday, 21 June 2013, National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) continued its efforts of reaching out to Batswana by presenting at a kgotla meeting in Khakhea.

The kgotla meeting, which was addressed by the Member of Parliament for Ngwaketse West Mr Mephato Reatile availed the opportunity for NFTRC to sensitise the residents about its products, services and how they can use them to improve their lives.

Mr Keontse Mothibedi advised the residents to utilise NFTRC services to diversify both their economies and that of the country.

He encouraged the youth to take advantage of government programmes such as youth fund to venture into food processing using locally available raw materials.

Residents applauded NFTRC for the good job it is doing and said it should open an office close by as Kanye is far thus hindering them from utilising the centre’s services.

Mr Reatile applauded NFTRC for sensitising Khakhea residents and encouraged them to take advantages of such services to improve their livelihoods.

 

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2013-06-24 - NFTRC equips potential entrepreneurs

 

This week we saw National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) equipping potential entrepreneurs with skills on vegetable oil extraction, peanut and morama butter processing.

The participants, most of whom were youths, came from Maboane, Molepolole, Mahalapye and Selebi Phikwe.  They were sponsored by District Youth Departments as well as self sponsored individuals.

One of the trainees, Ms Keitumetse Mosesane, said her interest to train in peanut butter processing was ignited by the fact that whenever she went shopping she did not see any peanut butter product made in Botswana, but only those from South Africa.

She said her passion grew towards venturing into peanut butter processing, and she decided to contact NFTRC for training.

Ms Rachel Diodibe, who hails from Mahalapye, said she was one of the beneficiaries of the Poverty Eradication workshop that took place in Diphuduhudu in June 2012, where she met NFTRC staff who raised her interest in the products and services they showcased.

She said after the workshop she contacted NFTRC for training. 

Ms Diodibe said she found the training to be an eye-opener, and she has since realised that peanut butter processing is something that one can survive with. 

She added that she will strive to take her business to higher levels as the nuts are readily available in Botswana and she hopes raw materials supplies would not be a great challenge to her business.

Mr Khumo Kgosidintsi, a self-sponsored youth from Molepolole, said at first he wanted to venture into farming, then he came across a NFTRC training advert in the Daily News and was eager to know more about NFTRC.

He said he came personally to NFTRC to enquire about the products and services offered and was fortunate to be given an opportunity for training.

He said the training has enlightened him in terms of selecting quality raw materials which will yield quality final product.

He said he was also impressed by the fact that he was taken not only through the handling of food but also for his personal hygiene, and maintenance of equipment he will be using.

Another youth, Ms Lilian Kgosietsile from Selebi-Phikwe, said she had been observing Zimbabweans selling products from their country, and this encouraged her so much that she developed passion to start her own business in peanut butter processing.

She said prior to coming for training she was involved in selling second-hand clothes which she got from Zambia, and she then decided to venture into another business in food processing.

She said the training has helped her not to take things for granted, more especially in handling food, because if not properly done, it could affect the health of customers and one could end up in trouble.

In general, the trainees were happy about the opportunity given to them for training, and the good reception they received from the facilitators.  

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2013-06-07 - NFTRC at BOCCIM fair

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) was among exhibitors at the 19th BOCCIM Northern Trade Fair in Francistown.

The fair, which is meant to avail an opportunity for business people (big and small) to come  together  under one ‘roof’ to share ideas and learn from one another, saw an increase in number of exhibitors,   according to BOCCIM officials.

It however did not live up to the expectations of some, as they did not make the sales they had hoped for due to poor public attendance.

NFTRC also did not get the ‘reach’ it normally does, as the majority of the people who visited the stall wanted to either buy or taste the exhibits and made a quick retreat as soon as they were informed they could not do either.

All was however, not lost as some, especially middle-aged women were keen to learn about NFTRC products and services, promising to visit the Centre in due course to take up some technologies.

It was interesting to note that most want to go into  vegetable and oil processing, which they said would help improve their families’ wellbeing.

The fair, which was held under the theme: Unlocking Opportunities to Successful Citizen Participation in the Economy of Botswana: was officially opened by the Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited, Mr Paul Taylor.

 

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2013-06-07 - NFTRC continues to empower youth

 

On Monday National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) made a presentation at a youth empowerment workshop hosted by Mabutsane Youth Office at the University of Botswana.

The workshop, which attracted youths from rural   areas surrounding Mabutsane was aimed at equipping them with requisite business skills for them to       generate quality business ideas and proposals.

Even though the youth were hearing about NFTRC for the first time, some showed interest to come for training to start food processing businesses more   especially on Morama products.

 

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2013-06-07 - NFTRC attends African Union training workshop

 

Mr Abia Sebaka recently represented National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) at the African Union – Semi-Arid Africa Food Grain Research and Development (AU-SAFGRAD) training workshop held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The training, which was held under the theme: “The impact of climate change and   desertification on agriculture and food security”, attracted  participants  with  different specialisations from various agricultural research institutions in Africa, NFTRC being one of them.

The objective of the training was to strengthen the capacity of young researchers in the agriculture field, and raise their awareness on the impact of climate change and       desertification on agriculture and food security.

In his presentation during the workshop, Mr Sebaka said it is a general consensus that the global climate is changing, and may affect arable and livestock production. The potential impact of climate change on food security is a widely debated and investigated issue.

He however said, Africa is expected to experience marked reductions in yield, decreases in production, and increases in the risk of hunger as a result of climate change and desertification. 

He said this is so because the African continent is predominately composed of developing countries, with the majority of their populations referred to as “subsistence” or “smallholder” farmers. The vulnerability of smallholder farmers to climate change and desertification arises from various socioeconomic, demographic, and policy trends limiting their capacity to adapt to change.

Mr Sebaka said with specific reference to food production systems, the impact of climate and desertification will be largely on safety of food for consumers and feed for livestock. Various food safety issues that are likely to be affected by changes in climate have been identified; among them are mycotoxins, which are formed on plant products in the field or during storage.

He said once the food production systems are affected by climatological conditions such as in climate change and desertification, food insecurity results.  He said food security is the state of local livelihoods successfully guaranteeing sufficient food at household level and when this status is not sufficiently met, the condition turns into food insecurity.

Mr Sebaka said desertification and climate change are inextricably linked through feedbacks between land degradation and precipitation: less rain leads to soil compaction and hardening, making the land unable to absorb rainwater.

He said confronting the challenges of climate change and desertification will require technical and institutional innovations to increase food and forage production while simultaneously adapting to changing       climatic conditions.

Mr Sebaka said the workshop benefitted him and NFTRC because it was overly emphasised that in the science’s endeavour to design drought tolerant crops, more deep analysis should be done on the overall    organoleptic taste of the cultivars. Quite often agronomists focus on high-yielding cultivated varieties, with less emphasis on sensory acceptance by the targeted consumer.

 

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2013-05-03 - NFTRC at youth empowerment festivals

 

For the past two weeks, staff members of the National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC), traversed the breadth and width of Botswana presenting at youth festivals.

The presentations centred around NFTRC’s mandate, products and services to interest youth to venture into food processing businesses.

NFTRC presented in Kanye, Moshupa, Mabutsane, Khakhea, Letlhakeng, Gaborone, Palapye and Serowe with over two thousand youths participating.

Some of the youth were very enthusiastic and promised to utilise the opportunity given to them by the government to come to NFTRC for training and set up their own businesses.

The Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture    organised the countrywide festivals to     empower the youth with business ideas and tools.

 

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2013-04-19 - Sorghum sensory evaluation on

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) through its Department of Extension and Training is carrying out sensory evaluation of porridges from six commercial sorghum meal brands. 

Ms Tumelo Tlhong (Senior Research Scientist – Extension and Training) said the objective of the project is to identify and measure distinctive differences that exist between sorghum porridges prepared from the six different commercial sorghum meals.

Tumelo said two types of sensory test methods: analytical sensory and consumer acceptance test would be used in the study.

The first test is mainly used to determine and profile product quality and measure sensory characteristics/attributes of a food product, while the second test determines the consumer preference of the flours by rating their degree of liking.

Tumelo said commercial sorghum meal brands are perceived to vary significantly in quality and sensory appeal by customers. 

She said these variations are believed to be caused by the processing methods used, additives and general marketing strategies employed by the producers.

She said the study, which is a consultancy for the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) will take about three weeks.

 

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2013-04-19 - SPEDU visits NFTRC

The Acting Chief Executive Officer of Selibe Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU), Mr Pako Kedisitse, visited National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) on Tuesday 16 April 2013.

Mr Kedisitse’s visit was to consult with NFTRC Management about the project to establish a value addition facility in Selibe Phikwe and share views that would enhance the project.

Also discussed were the areas of mutual interest that would lead to the diversification of the SPEDU area’s economy and that of the country at large.

Mr Kedisitse, who assured management of SPEDU’s support for the project, was also taken on a guided tour of NFTRC facilities.

 

 

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2013-04-05 - NFTRC at Southern District market day

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) was among stakeholders at the Southern District Market Day on 26 March 2013.

The objective of the day, which was held under the theme “Letsema le thata” was to bring small businesses together to sell their products in one place, share challenges and learn from each other.

The guest speaker, Mrs Gontekanye Keaikitse said that she  started  her  business  selling food at Mmasekou market, and it has since grown into Mmopakuku Restaurant.

Mrs Keaikitse said she is passionate about her business and treats her customers with love and respect, which keeps them coming back.. 

She encouraged others to involve Jesus Christ in their businesses for guidance, adding by so doing; one’s business will grow.

 Mrs Keaikitse said one of the challenges that lead to collapse is to envy bigger things when one starts a business.

She advised other entrepreneurs to grow their businesses first and then think of personal improvement.

A youth earrings and necklaces entrepreneur, Mrs Belinda Lekone said she started her business in 2007 and sold from office to office, before setting a table in the mall to sell her products.

Mrs Lekone said although she was sometimes chased away by council bye-law enforcement officers because she did not have a trading licence, she did not get discouraged.

She said she later decided to obtain a driving licence in order to go around villages selling her products, which has contributed greatly to  its growth .

She said one day while she was selling at the mall, someone from Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) saw her  products and  invited  her to  their  offices  for assistance. 

She said LEA  trained  her  and  she is  now operating from her own apartment, adding that she has bought equipment through Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) loan and the business is doing very well.

She said she participates at different shows and exhibitions throughout the country and she has decorated most of the ministry offices in Gaborone and government departments in Kanye with her products.

She said her wish is for her products to go international.

In his vote of thanks, Mr John Disele thanked the Southern District Council  for  bringing  entrepreneurs together to learn from each other. 

He encouraged them to benchmark from each other to make their businesses grow.

NFTRC displayed its products and services and encouraged the entrepreneurs who visited the stall to take up the technologies and venture into the food processing industry.

The entrepreneurs showed a lot of interest in jams, atchar and dried vegetables.

 

 

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2013-04-05 - Process mapping follow-up

 

In an effort to keep the Quality Management System fire burning, the Weekly Bulletin team interviewed some staff members on progress with process mapping in their respective departments and this is what they had to say:

Mrs Tebogo Tlhabuswe-Leu (Head of Human Resource and Administration) said the human resource personnel has already mapped their processes even though they have not been presented to the Quality Management System (QMS) committee.

Tebogo said she does not know when the processes will present as they are always held up with other work commitments, which hinder them from attending QMS meetings.

She also added that the QMS Coordinator, Dr Mary Gorethe Binta has advised them to present their processes so that other colleagues could critic them for improvement before they could be put to use.

Mrs Carlio Sereto-Relaeng (Acting Records Officer) said they have mapped processes that they feel are core to their work which is Document Control and Control of Records.

She said they are still working on the minor ones like file and mail management and the scheme of service.

She said she hopes they will be done very soon.

Carlio said they are going to present their processes at the next QMS meeting so that they can finish and be certified to use their processes.

She said it is important to map their processes so that when a new staff joins them, s/he would be able to do the work without asking on what needs to be done.

She also promised that they will follow their processes at all times.

Mr Macdonald Kgotlaeame said they are done with mapping their processes and waiting for certification in order to put them touse.

Ms Maipelo Obuseng (Receptionist) said she has already mapped her process and that she is going to follow it as that is what she has been doing at all times.

The Weekly Bulletin team would like to remind each member of staff to map his/her processes as each individual has to account for what they do every day.

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2013-04-05 - Outgoing staff bid NFTRC goodbye

Two staff members, Mr Jane Kelosiwang and Mrs Lebogang Emesu left the services of National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) at the end of March 2013.

The Weekly Bulletin had an interview with them about their journey at NFTRC and this is what they had to say:

Mr Kelosiwang who affectionately called all male colleagues ‘Malome’ and females ‘Rakgadi’, said during his stay at NFTRC management changed.

He said, he was impressed by the fact that he was given contract after his retirement age because by then he was not yet ready to leave the services of NFTRC.

Mr Kelosiwang wished the spirit of togetherness to prevail amongst bo-rakgadi and bo-malome so that they win the battle they are fighting.

He said from here he will be taking care of the tree he has planted, that is farming.

While Mrs Lebogang Emesu said she joined NFTRC in December 2008 from Wildfruits in Gabane.

Lebogang said she joined NFTRC during the time of transition and most of her expectations were not fulfilled due to financial constraints which prevented the organisation from delivering its mandate.

She said she is impressed by the fact that NFTRC staff is passionate about the organisation, adding that NFTRC has the capacity to help Botswana become food secure.

She said NFTRC is a small place that can change Botswana and encouraged staff to work hard so that when they look back they should be proud to have been part of the development.

Lebogang said she has learnt a lot, professionally, socially and economically and hoped she would utilise that in her future endeavours.

Meanwhile on Thursday, 28 March 2013, NFTRC staff came together for a short session to bid Lebogang farewell.

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2013-04-03 - Fruits and vegetables processing course a success

 

The week-long fruits and vegetables processing course, which ended on 22 March 2013 was said to be a success as it saw an overwhelming number of participants.

The course director, Dr Keitirele Walker applauded the trainees for their cooperation throughout all course.

Dr Walker said initially the facilitators did not think they would cope with the large number of trainees but they were pleasantly surprised by the group’s cooperation and enthusiasm.

Chief Research Scientist – Food Technology, Dr Martin Kebakile said the trainees interacted well as a group and encouraged them to continue with that spirit because they will need one another to move forward. 

Dr Kebakile encouraged them to copy from Indians who support each other in business. 

He said National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) would always be available to provide whatever assistance they would need in the future.

He said processors should take up the produce to encourage farmers to produce more as there would be less wastage and losses.

Dr Kebakile said they should not undermine themselves, saying small businesses can make huge profits. 

He reminded them that everything starts small, adding that through the knowledge and skills acquired they could go to higher levels.

He was hopeful that by the end of the year NFTRC would have test-bets where small entrepreneurs would be able to produce their products under scaled-up industry set-up and be able to test the market directly, adding that the centre wants to see small entrepreneurs producing products of international standards.

He encouraged the trainees to register their businesses with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to operate legally. 

Dr Kebakile also advised them to seek assistance from such organisations as Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) and Enterprise Botswana.

He thanked the facilitators for a sterling job, adding that the trainees had acquired knowledge and skills of quality because NFTRC facilitators, facilities and manuals are accredited by the Botswana Training Authority (BOTA).

One of the trainees, Ms Rosinah Tlhase who gave a vote of thanks, said they were privileged to have received the training.

Ms Tlhase promised that they would utilise the knowledge and skills in their various enterprises. 

She thanked the facilitators for their patience and good reception, promising only good things when assessment time comes.

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2013-04-03 - NFTRC at BCA Food Science and Technology Club Fair

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) was on Friday March 22, 2013, amongst stakeholders at the Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA) Food Science and Technology Club career fair.

The aims of the career fair, which was held under the theme “Industrial and educational involvement in building future scientists in Botswana” were to expose students to organisations in the food industry; possibly expose them to their potential employers and help them to make informed career decisions.

In his opening remarks, Professor Geremew Bultosa, appreciated the presence of all organisations that attended.

Professor Bultosa said the fair was an opportunity for the students to network with organisations where they may work.

He said BCA is proud to be educating future food scientists, as food is a source of security for every nation.

He said the Food Science and Technology Club started small and it will definitely grow and network with all organisations dealing with food in Botswana.

When giving vote of thanks, Mr Richard Kgakgamatso, Food Science and Technology Club President applauded every organisation that attended the event.

Mr Kgakgamatso expressed the hope that next year the event would attract more participants and organisations. 

NFTRC encouraged the BCA students to take up its technologies to start their own businesses instead of seeking employment after completing their studies, as the labour market is saturated.

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2013-04-03 - Have a happy and safe Easter break

 

As Easter - a Christian holiday that commemorates the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ is upon us the Weekly Bulletin team went around enquiring how people would be celebrating the forthcoming holidays.

 Whiles some will be attending church conventions, Patrick Jansen (IT Manager) says he will be with his family and friends in Kopong celebrating his 16-year old daughter’s surprise birthday.

Patrick says he delights in spending quality time with his family and Easter presents such an opportunity.

He however says Easter also means a couple of days off work and so he will jump at the opportunity of a free day to visit Moiyabana to harvest at his farm.

He also said he would attend Easter mass at church the Saturday after Good Friday.

Pulane Mswela says she will be a loner for the holiday as her children will be in Kanye with their grandparents.

Pulane says the holiday and the absence of the children would avail an opportunity for her to study as she is a part time student.

She says this will be the first times she would be alone at Easter as they usually have fun as a family engaging in activities like egg hunt, Easter bunny shopping, Easter egg painting.

She says like most people, she was groomed to know Easter as a Christian holiday celebrated in church, but she confesses that like everything else these days, that has changed.

However, for some, Easter is not Easter without spending all night at church and Tumelo Tlhong relates, saying she spends most of her days/ time at church.

Tumelo says Thursday is the all night prayer day, as it is believed to be the day Jesus spent with his disciples to prepare them for the proceedings of the Good Friday, cushioning them emotionally and washing their feet as a symbol of his love for them, humility, service and washing of sins.

She states that Easter presents a chance to fellowship with the Christian community at large, being with family for spiritual grounding, adding that she views Easter as the foundation of Christianity as it symbolises the death of our King, our pardon, love beyond measure from our saviour , and above all His resurrection three days later. Had He not resurrected, Christianity would not have had a chance.

The Weekly Bulletin team wishes all NFTRC employees and their families a blessed Easter.

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2013-03-22 - NFTRC holds fruits and vegetable processing course

 


Thirty participants from across Botswana were this week trained on fruits and vegetable processing.

Ms Tumelo Tlhong said she is impressed by the overwhelming number of participants, most of whom are entrepreneurs.

Tumelo said most of the participants are poverty eradication beneficiaries, who are being trained on the alternative packages component of the poverty eradication programme.

The participants are sponsored by various district and city/town councils, as well as a few self-sponsored individuals.

She said most of the participants are already processing some products and they came to enhance their skills.

Tumelo said this time around, the training was focusing on skills building, as most of the participants have background on food processing.

Ms Lindiwe Lobeloane, Home Economics (HE) officer at Gaborone City Council (GCC) who is accompanying participants from Gaborone, said the beneficiaries are being equipped with simple and low cost techniques to improve their lives.

Ms Lobeloane said GCC would bring more participants to NFTRC to be trained in sweets processing and packaging.

She said after training, the participants will be assisted with equipment and market for their products.

Ms Kabelo Tuwane, Home Economics (HE) officer at Tonota Sub District Council, who is accompanying beneficiaries from Tonota and surrounding villages, said most of them are already processing different products such as jam.

Ms Tuwane said they came to NFTRC to upgrade their skills in processing and standardising their products.

She said she was very impressed by the food handling techniques and hygiene topics as most of the beneficiaries were lacking that information resulting in products of low quality.

Another participant is Ms Say Mosetlha who is sponsored by Selebi Phikwe City Council.

Ms Mosetlha is a small scale entrepreneur producing “Matute A Monate” juice.

She said she came to NFTRC to learn more about theory pertaining to the food industry and to learn about water melon juice.

She said her juices will be supplied country wide this year as she has been waiting for barcoding.

Ms Goemeone Kekgathetse, a selfsponsored participant from Kanye, said she is very impressed by NFTRC services.

Ms Kekgathetse said she learnt about NFTRC services from Botswana Television last year and realised that she is sitting next to a diamond.

She said her parents are farmers and the training would help her to process readily available raw materials like water melon.

She said she is going to encourage other Kanye youths to utilise NFTRC services.

The participants were trained on processing lerotse jam, water melon juice, vegetable archar and drying of vegetables.

 

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2013-03-22 - Progress of QMS

The QMS, Coordinator, Dr Mary Gorethe Binta says many processes have been completed.

Dr Binta said NFTRC will work towards certification this year, funds permitting as certification efforts could not be pursued last year due to financial constraints.

She said three forms; customer feedback, complaint and non-conformance/corrective action have been designed to obtain feedback from customers, adding that the three are with management for approval.

Dr Binta said once the forms are approved they will be used by everyone across the organisation, revealing that the customer feedback form will be sent to customers to solicit their views on the quality of service NFTRC provides. 

She said the complaint form is deliberately designed for those who have something to complain about so that the root cause could be investigated and the complainant given feedback, while the non-conformance/corrective action form will be used when there is a deviation.

Dr Binta said the non-conformance/corrective action form would assist NFTRC staff to define the problem, assess and investigate it using all the necessary problem-solving tools.  

She said she has observed that internal clients are not treated the same way as external ones, and therefore encouraged staff members to improve on the factor, adding that internal clients are also eligible to utilise the forms.

 

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2013-03-15 - DRST staff members visit NFTRC

 

Staff members of the Department of Research Science and Technology (DRST) visited National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) on Friday, 8th March 2013 to familiarise themselves with its operations.

The delegates were led by the Director, Ms Lesego Motoma, who is also a member of NFTRC Board of Directors.

Ms Motoma said the aim of their visit was to appreciate the work that NFTRC is doing and look at possible areas of collaboration.

The Public Relations Manager, Ms Thatayaone M. Kepaletswe welcomed the delegates, while Dr Boitshepo Keikotlhaile gave an overview of NFTRC.

The delegates inquired on the formula NFTRC uses to choose indigenous food to research on and how of it protects Intellectual Property (IP) rights.

In response, Professor Lewis Ezeogu said NFTRC looks how it can diversify or preserve different indigenous foods throughout the country, in an effort to substitute imports.

On the issue of IP, Professor Ezeogu said two staff members are trained on the subject to help the centre.

The delegates later toured NFTRC facilities where research scientists explained the functions of different laboratories.

When giving a vote of thanks, Mr Oagana Monngakgotla said NFTRC is doing a greater job for the nation in food research.

Mr Monngakgotla said he was very interested in microtoxins research.

He said although NFTRC is no longer under the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, it will keep supporting it to achieve its mandate.

 

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2013-03-15 - NFTRC to upgrade its sewage system

 

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) is in the process of upgrading its sewage system.

Suppliers Officer, Mr Oagile Matebejane said the process is going very well as the tender will be awarded sometime next week.

Mr Matebejane said the project, which is anticipated to take about six months, could have long started but it was delayed due to financial constraints.

He said initially, the current sewage system capacity was designed to accommodate the volume from the laboratories only, adding that the new administration building has thus increased the volume rapidly, leading to the sewage system spill ing causing environmental hazard.

Mr Matebejane cautions staff members to expect disturbances from the construction, adding that  their cooperation would be highly appreciated.

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2013-03-11 - NFTRC hosts two Foreign Affairs employees

It is now a norm for National Food Technology Research Technology (NFTRC) to host Ministry of Foreign Affairs employees, working for Botswana embassies in different countries.

 This week, NFTRC hosted Ms Mapule Tshidi and Kenosi Selebogo from the Botswana Consulate General Office in Johannesburg and their tour guide Mr Eric Kedidimetse from foreign affairs office in Gaborone.

The duo is responsible for the welfare of Batswana students in the Johannesburg area of South Africa.

The delegates were welcomed by Dr Keitirele Walker, who also gave an overview of NFTRC. 

Ms Tshidi said they appreciated the good reception from NFTRC, adding that they learnt a lot about food processing and food safety.

She advised NFTRC to send its brochures to Botswana embassies to market its services.

The visit ended with a tour of NFTRC laboratories where different research scientists explained services they provide.

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2013-03-11 - Tribute to Tendani

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) staff members were in Palapye on Saturday March 2nd to pay their last tribute to Ms Tendani Senuka Gasemotho.

The shocking news about Tendani’s death came in the early hours of Tuesday 26 February 2013.

Speakers at the funeral described her as a loving person, someone who believed in herself and would not give up until she won an argument.

One of Tendani’s nephews, Lame Gasemotho said he is what he is because of his aunt. 

He described Tendani as a person who liked to sleep in over the weekend.

Lame narrated an incident where, Tendani gave her nieces and nephews, whom she had invited over to her house sleeping tablets in order for all of them to sleep as she needed her weekend sleep fix, while the children were making too much noise.

He said when the mothers came to collect their children, Tendani chastised them for not giving the children enough rest, revealing that she had taken it upon herself to make them sleep.

The Managing Director, Dr Charity Kerapeletswe-Kruger said Tendani whom she described as a dedicated person was employed at NFTRC because she showed enthusiasm during the job interview.

She however said after assuming work, Tendani immediately fell sick, leading to a drop in her performance, adding that after recovering, Tendani made tremendous changes, which are still being enjoyed by NFTRC staff.

Meanwhile, at a short memorial service at her house in Gaborone on 27 February 2013, Ms Tumelo Tlhong said Tendani touched many people’s lives, not only at NFTRC but everywhere she went. 

Tendani’s relatives appreciated the large number of NFTRC staff who attended the funeral, adding that it was rare in life for people to pay their last respect to someone whom they were no longer working with.

The NFTRC choir also gave Tendani a sendoff fit for a ‘queen of fashion’. My her soul rest in peace!

May her soul rest in peace.

 

 

 

 

 

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2013-03-01 - NFTRC holds Dairy processing training

 

The Department of Extension and Training last week trained three participants on dairy processing.

The training, which is the first of its kind this year, attracted two men from Ramotswa and one lady from the Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA).

The participants processed madila, cheese and yoghurt.

BCA participant, Ms Boitumelo Mokobi, who is a diary officer, said she was interested in practicals to increase her level of diary processing.

She said she was impressed by the training, equipment used and the conducive environment the trainers provided.

Ms Annah Nkwe Mosele lamented the low turn up of participants although the training was advertised, adding that they will look for alternative ways to attract more numbers in the future.

She said the participants were happy with the training as they interacted with trainers easily and their level of understanding was impressive.

 

 

 

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2013-03-01 - NFTRC computers audited

 

The Department of Information Technology (IT) is currently auditing all NFTRC computers.

Mr Rod Nkepu said the annual activity, which is meant to check compliance and create space in the server, will last for about four weeks.

Rod said IT staff also check whether  all software installed in the computers is licensed and authorised as well as the security of the computers like whether the anti-virus is updating regularly

He said some staff members overload the server by keeping multimedia files such as music, videos and pictures in their profiles.

Rod advises staff members to refrain from overloading their computers with media files by saving them in inappropriate locations such as the desktop and “my documents”.

He said the audit would also assist them to identify problems faced by users and how to respond to them.

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2013-02-26 - NFTRC hosts delegates from Botswana embassies

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) on Monday  hosted delegates from the Botswana Embassies in Nigeria and Zambia.

The delegates who were led by Mr  Ditso Gaenangaka from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation were Nigerian and Zambian nationals working for the Botswana Embassies in their respective countries.

The objective of  the visit  was  to  give  the  delegates  first-hand  information  about  NFTRC and also for them to appreciate the country they are working for.

Chief Research Scientist – Food Technology, Dr Martin Kebakile welcomed the delegates while Mr Keontse Mothibedi gave a brief overview of NFTRC.

The delegates showed interest on how one can learn about technologies at NFTRC, as they said they are involved in    agriculture in their countries. 

They urged NFTRC to collaborate with agricultural organisations in their countries to diversify the Botswana economy.

The delegates also toured NFTRC facilities.

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2013-02-26 - NFTRC on Facebook

The Public Relations Unit recently opened a National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC)  Facebook page.

The objective is to market the organisation and its services to the youth and   other potential clients using Facebook as it is cheap, fast and can reach millions.

NFTRC staff members are therefore urged to submit information about their different projects/programmes to the  Public Relations Unit for inclusion on the page.

The URL is: https://www.facebook.com/www.naftec.org?ref=hl

Comments and suggestions on how the page can be improved and utilised are welcome.

 

 

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2013-02-18 - Nutrition and Dietetics Department goes shopping

The Nutrition and Dietetics department has not taken the budget cuts lying down, but is living the Setswana idiom: Se a re go tlogelwa tsatsing se ikise moriting by embarking on a journey to market its services.

Dr Boitumelo Stokie Motswagole (Principal Research Scientist) said members of the department are going door to door marketing its services to survive.

Dr Motswagole said it is apparent that many organisations are not aware of their services hence the campaign.

 

She said they have developed a brochure, which they use as part of their marketing efforts. 

She said for sometime NFTRC has been rendering such services to various government departments and corporate institutions, for free, adding   ‘it is high time this opportunity is used as an income generating venture for the institution’. 

The department has expertise to conduct various health screening procedures, nutritional counselling and educate the public on nutrition and health, in additional to conducting research in the field of human nutrition and health. 

Dr Motswagole said efforts would continue to reach as many institutions as possible.

These services are in line with Vision 2016 pillar of a healthy nation. 

 

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2013-02-08 - Morula: Is it another ‘diamond’

A team from Divine Scents was last week trained on processing Morula into various products.

The team leader, Ms Matilda Mpai said they were already in business producing cosmetics and household fragrances at cottage level, using different fruit fragrances and Baobab oil.

Ms Mpai said they decided to come to NFTRC to learn Morula processing, especially oil extraction which they will add oil to their products to come up with modern cosmetic formulations which improve skin hydration and smoothness, since Botswana has dry weather.

She said they learnt a lot from NFTRC and they will come up with more products from Morula and ultimately make NFTRC and the facilitators proud.

Ms Mpai said as the business grows, they will use Morula oil to produce products for removing marks and hair treatment ointments.

Senior Research Scientist - Food Technology, Mr Lovemore Marire said the Divine Scents team was very courageous for coming to learn.

 Mr Marire expressed the hope that their five-day training was fruitful.

He encouraged the team to the journey continue adding that coming to NFTRC was one such step at a time.

Morula pulp can be processed into juice, sweets, jam, jellies and alcoholic drinks, while the kernels can be processed into oil, with oilcake as a by-product as well as roasted nuts. 

Morula is said to be four times the Vitamin C content of oranges, while its oil is a delicious additive to meals. 

The oil can also be used in cosmetic applications, including anti-aging oils and ointments.

 

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2013-02-08 - NFTRC hosts OCAAT

 

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) this week hosted two groups of students from Oodi College of Applied Arts and Technology (OCAAT). 

Ms Palesa Selikane, a Biology lecturer said the aim of the visit was to familiarise students with NFTRC services more specially the Microbiology, Biotechnology and Chemistry apparatus, testing and analysis methods.

Ms Selikane said OCAAT would like to sign a memorandum of understanding with NFTRC for its students to do their industrial attachment at NFTRC.

Another lecturer, Mr Karabo Baipidi said apart from Applied Science Courses, OCAAT offers entrepreneurship courses, which can benefit students who want to venture into business

In her welcome remarks and overview of NFTRC, the Public Relations Manager, Ms Thatayaone Kepaletswe said Botswana must create an enabling environment for the food processing/manufacturing industry to thrive.

This, Ms Kepaletswe said would not only assist government efforts to diversify the economy away from the mining sector, but create employment especially for the youth and reduce dependence on other countries to feed Batswana.

She said a robust food processing/manufacturing industry would also give agriculture the necessary boost, as farmers would know that their produce has a much wider market.

The students, who are pursuing Certificate in Applied Laboratory Sciences majoring in Chemistry, Biology and Physics, applauded NFTRC for giving them the opportunity to tour its facilities.               

 

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2013-02-04 - NFTRC hosts WEGSA

The National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) last Friday hosted 36 junior secondary school students (24 girls and 12 boys) from eight different junior secondary schools around the country.

The tour was part of the 2nd the Forum for Women Engineers and Girl Scientists in Africa (WEGSA) camp.

The Camp of Excellence was held at Mokolodi Nature Reserve under the theme: “Nestled in Science and Technology”.

The head of delegation Ms Mandu Gasennelwe-Jeffrey said the objectives of WEGSA’s technological camps are to: expose junior secondary school students to various science, engineering and technology  industries, academic and research institutions; provide students with information on careers in the vast field of engineering; link the participating schools with their respective mentors; help students recognise their career relevant skills, as well as to encourage them to develop their spatial skills.

Ms Gasennelwe-Jeffery said boys are included in the camps to encourage their female counterparts to study Science and Technology subjects, have career options along those lines and ultimately curb the philosophy of saying Science is for boys only.

She said the vision of the forum is to increase the number of females in Science and Technology in Botswana.

In her welcome remarks and overview about NFTRC, Ms Thatayaone Kepaletswe encouraged the students not only to study and pass Science and Technology subjects but also to have passion for them.

The students showed keen interest in what it takes for one to work at NFTRC.

They were also accompanied by teachers and personnel from the Ministry of Education and Skills as well as the University of Botswana.

 

 

 

 

 

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2013-01-25 - Mycotoxins project beneficial

 

The National Food Technology Research Centre’s Mycotoxin project, which is interdisciplinary as it runs across the Departments of Chemistry and Microbiology/Biotechnology, is said to be beneficial to the country’s food sector.

Dr Kenneth Johnstone (Principal Research Scientist at Chemistry Department) said the project has already benefited NFTRC and Batswana through the recent peanut butter recall, which he said saved many lives.

He said the project has given food producers an opportunity to test for toxins to ensure they are not poisoning their consumers.

 He said commercially, the work on the project has enabled NFTRC to offer routine analysis of various mycotoxins as a service to customers.

He said at the completion of the project, NFTRC will be able to inform people of the best conditions to treat and store their grains and legumes to reduce the growth of fungi and the production of mycotoxins, as well as ways of processing their produce to minimise their mycotoxin levels, leading to a reduction in wastage.

Dr Johnstone said the overall project will take a number of years to complete, as its scope is vast, covering a survey of mycotoxins and mycotoxin-producing fungi across the whole nation.

He said the team has been sampling unprocessed grain and legumes in the southern region of Botswana from farms, storage facilities and commercial suppliers.

Mycotoxins are a group of toxic secondary metabolites produced by fungi and some types of fungi (moulds) growing in foods, such as sorghum, maize and nuts in conditions of high temperature and humidity.

 

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2013-01-25 - PMS progress at NFTRC

 

The Head of Human Resource and Administration (HR&A), Mrs Tebogo Tlhabuswe-Leu said there are challenges with the Performance Management System (PMS) at NFTRC.

Tebogo said the new detailed appraisal form is a challenge for both supervisors and supervisees, advising both parties to learn and understand it.

She said the form covers all aspects of PMS and both the supervisors and supervisees agree on the way forward in areas of underperformance by recording performance related challenges in the performance log.

She lamented that assessments at NFTRC are not done on time despite several reminders sent to staff. 

Tebogo urged supervisors to familiarise themselves with PMS components. 

She noted that PMS is not a punitive tool but rather can assist  to improve performance to achieve organisational goals.

She said for PMS to work, each and every employee should see it as an instrument to promote organisational excellence.

She said because objectives are not properly cascaded down, some officers are discouraged to develop performance contracts and find PMS onerous.

Tebogo said NFTRC is not where it should be with PMS, adding however that it should be appreciated that something is being done.

She said if implemented properly, PMS would assist to achieve NFTRC’s strategic objectives.

She said as PMS is a process that becomes perfect over a period of time, one  appreciates that there are areas where NFTRC staff is still not clear on.

She thus advocated for PMS refresher courses.

 

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2013-01-22 - FTD stats the year in a high gear

Food Technology Department is starting the year 2013 by proposing a poster to entail all the functions of its two laboratories.

In an interview with the Weekly Bulletin, Mr Abia Sebaka said they have discussed and decided to ride on the previous work done and produce a poster for the two food technology department laboratories (Pilot plant and Food Processing).

He said the poster would display functions of the two laboratories and an overview of the equipment and their capabilities in these two laboratories as well as the recently acquired Ultra High Temperature (UHT) plant.

Abia said the poster would serve as a standardised guide that members of the department will use during tours, as well as always permanently display such that any member of NFTRC or visitors can use to understand functions and capabilities of the two laboratories.

                                                                                                                         

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2013-01-22 - Hope for a better 2013

On the last day of business in 2012, Mr Raphael Sikwane, a Mind Power Consultant, Ability Analyst and Ability Developer counselled and prepared National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) staff members for 2013.

Mr Sikwane said the overall aim of Mind Power is to impart life changing skills designed to effect change in behaviour, beliefs, habits, attitudes and thought processes that do not support the individual or that minimise his/ her potential (A change process for positive living).

He said the strategic objective of Mind Power Services is to provide the individual with inner tools, strategies and resources from within, to transform his/her life from where it is to where he/she wants it to go.

The Managing Director, Dr Charity Kerapeletswe-Kruger encouraged staff members to come back fresh in 2013 to be more productive than in 2012.

She said problems and obstacles facing the organisation should not hinder staff from doing their jobs, expressing the hope that the dark cloud covering NFTRC will fade away.

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2013-01-22 - NFTRC does it again at Dikhukhung

The National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) was among stakeholders at the Dikhukhung poverty eradication Pitso, where it exhibited products in the Poverty Eradication alternative packages category such as fruits and vegetables processing and packaging.

Ms Tumelo Tlhong said NFTRC is charged with injecting some food processing interest on potential beneficiaries, a role that it continues to execute diligently.

She said the main challenge is that NFTRC find itself having to demonstrate food processing in an otherwise inappropriate environment, adding however that the organisation is able to do so without compromising food safety and manufacturing practices.

Tumelo said the NFTRC team did not go out there to make beneficiaries jam processors and grain packagers in one day, but rather to create awareness so that those interested could then be fully trained through the poverty eradication programme.  

She said the team is therefore hopeful that it will be training those beneficiaries soon.

She said it would also be helpful if the Department of Social Services could identify beneficiaries interested in food processing to be trained beforehand, for NFTRC to then showcase the impact at the Pitso through beneficiary testimonies.  

Tumelo said she felt that the timing for the Dikhukhung Poverty Eradication Pitso was not the best as it was ploughing season hence it did not have best attendance. 

The event was officiated by the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Anders Pedersen and it attracted beneficiaries from Lobatse Town Council, Southern District Council, Good Hope and Moshupa Sub-districts.

 

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2012-11-23 - Another batch of soldiers visits

 

It is now a norm for National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) to host students and staff from Botswana Defence Force (BDF) colleges.

To this end, NFTRC on Monday hosted a 43-man delegation comprising students and directing staff from the Junior Command and Staff Course (JCSC) in Lobatse.

The aim of the visit was for the students to learn about NFTRC operations and how the centre contributes to the Botswana economy.

In her welcome remarks, the Managing Director, Dr Charity Kerapeletswe-Kruger said NFTRC perceives the army as an important partner in achieving its mission. 

Dr Kerapeletswe-Kruger said the visit was a clear indication that NFTRC is moving in the right direction of forging strategic partnership with other institutions.

She said just like other countries, Botswana is pursuing a policy on food security, which could influence the stability of the country and economic diversification to achieve comprehensive national security. 

She said a minimum level of food self-sufficiency is a prerequisite for national security, adding that for the country to have a viable military force; it must be able to provide it with adequate food supplies.

Dr Kerapeletswe-Kruger said NFTRC has the capacity to develop food processes that can be taken up to start businesses. 

She added that NFTRC has the capacity to develop ready-to-eat, quick cooking and instant nutritious foods, that the BDF can take up for its soldiers when they are on out of station duties.

Chief Research Scientist (Food Processing), Dr Martin Kebakile gave an overview of NFTRC and how it contributes to both the agricultural sector and the national economy.

The delegates later toured NFTRC facilities where research scientists explained the functions of the different laboratories.

The delegates thanked NFTRC for hosting them, adding that the exposure helped in broadening their understanding.

 

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2012-11-23 - NFTRC advises BVTC community

 

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) was amongst institutions that attended the Borolong Vocational Training Centre (BVTC) Wellness Day in Pitsane. last Friday

Ms Tiyapo Mongwaketse advised the participants to eat healthy by including a variety of foods to supply nutrients to their bodies.

Tiyapo said as food is necessary to stay alive, to give energy and for growth and development, meals should consist of different types, adding that starchy foods should be the basis of every meal as they provide the body with energy.

She advised them to keep their bodies active to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and to burn energy, which helps in weight control.

Tiyapo emphasised the need to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day to help in temperature regulation and removal of waste from the body.

She advised the participants to eat fruits and vegetables everyday as they are essential for the body and provide vitamins.

She cautioned them against excessive alcohol consumption, which can result in weight gain and/or damage of the liver.

The objectives of the day were to promote wellness, to instil a sense of responsibility for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and to provide the BVTC community with an opportunity for health screening.

NFTRC educated the participants about its services and 81 of them had a chance to check their Body Mass Index (BMI).

There were such activities as tug of war, aerobics, netball and football.

NFTRC was represented by Dr Lemogang Kwape, Ms Tiyapo Mongwaketse and Mr Keontse Mothibedi.

The day was held under the theme: “Making fitness our number one priority”.

 

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2012-11-23 - NFTRC hosts two IAEA Namibian fellows

 

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) is hosting two University of Namibia student fellows of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Ms Sylivia Ndeshihafela Nafuka is pursuing Master in Science, while Ms Charwan Iwanette Du Preez is pursuing PhD in Science and they will be at NFTRC until December 19.

The duo is doing their thesis on indigenous medicinal plants for malaria.

Ms Nafuka said they would learn how to use stable Isotopes technics and other technical equipment, which will be used to determine body composition/nutritional status of under fives.

She said this is a capacity building exercise because they are going to train other participants after completing their training at NFTRC. 

Dr Bernard Bulawayo welcomed the duo and introduced them to different departments.

 

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2012-11-16 - Another SANBio Beneficiary

 

After responding to a call for short-term research fellowship in biosciences 2012, Mr Gaone Mokhawa (Research Scientist – Biotechnology/Microbiology) recently attended a 3-month Finish-Southern African Partnership Programme to Strengthen NEPAD/SANBio (BioFISA) Research Fellowship in South Africa.

The fellowship was hosted by Inqaba Biotechnical Industries (Pty) Ltd, under the supervision of Dr. Antoinette van Schalkwyk.

Mr Mokhawa said the objective of the research was the molecular characterisation of diversity of 10 Botswana sorghum varieties for conservation, breeding and product development, as well as in the use of sorghum for food and feed products.

He said this is an extension of the sorghum tempe project in which the Department of Biotechnology/Microbiology is looking at the chemical and nutritional properties of sorghum flour developed from solid state fermentation with edible mould species. The idea for this part of the tempe project was conceived after running out of sefofu sorghum variety, which they initially used to start the tempe project.

Mr Mokhawa said the project went well and it was completed on time with minor challenges.  He believed that good planning and a clear vision of what was needed to get the project done contributed to its smooth running.

He recommends that the outcome of this project be shared with sorghum breeders and other stakeholders; it is a demonstration of how food and agricultural researches could be linked to develop and execute meaningful projects.

Mr Mokhawa however believes that the two are inseparable, with the current challenges in food can be best solved by understanding and increasing the value of the product all the way from the farm to the table. This can be achieved by creating a platform for agricultural and food researchers to work hand in hand towards a common goal.

He thanked Southern African Network of Biological Sciences (SANBio)/BioFISA initiative for providing him the opportunity and financial support to carry out this project, and hoped he would be involved in the second phase in which he would use the information towards obtaining a Masters Degree.

He also thanked Inqaba Biotechnical Industries (Pty) Ltd for allowing him to use their premises and expertise. Gratitude was also expressed to National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) for granting the permission to pursue the project.

While in South Africa,  Mr Mokhawa had the opportunity  to  present a poster of the same at the BioFISA Phase 1 project closure conference which was held on 03-05 September 2012.

 

 

 

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2012-11-16 - A stylish send-off

Mr Gaamangwe Maruatona, who recently left the services of National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC), was sent off in style by his well-wishers on the night of 09 November 2012.

They described Gee (as affectionately called) as a man of many talents; being sports, science and entrepreneurship, just to mention a few, adding that his stay at NFTRC has uniquely touched the lives of colleagues, both young and old.

They described him as a focused person, who knows what it takes to succeed, and when setting his mind on something would come up with good results.

They said Gee was always available when one needed assistance, and would help to the best of his ability.

They wished him well in his new endeavours, and said they would extremely miss him.

In his response, Mr Maruatona said he was touched by the love he received from NFTRC staff, even to this very moment.

Gee said he prides himself by what NFTRC has moulded him to be, and it will always be his second home, as it has a special place in his heart.

He said even though he left the organisation in an unstable situation, he encouraged those whom he left behind to work hard to take NFTRC to higher stands, because he believes NFTRC to have great potential to do better than it is now.

Gee promised to be a good ambassador in whatever he ventures into in the world out there.

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2012-11-16 - Lawrence: The newspaper man

 

Mr Lawrence Laduma Batlanang, is a young man of 26 years old from Kanye, who is commonly known as “Newspaper Man” and for calling people “brazen” and  “sistere" (a slang for “my brother” and “my sister”, respectively).

In an interview with the Weekly Bulletin, Lawrence said he is the Managing Director and sole proprietary owner of a company called Lawrence Newspapers, which he started in 2009, and which supplies local newspapers to NFTRC.

Lawrence said NFTRC staff opened his eyes to what is happening in the world and helped him to know how to take every opportunity that knocks.

He said interacting with ‘highly educated’ individuals of different cultures at NFTRC has shown him that it only takes courage to succeed.

Lawrence said all NFTRC employees are friendly, open and appreciate him as he is.

He said his business is at the moment centred in Kanye where his other clients are all secondary schools in Kanye, Ngwaketse Landboard, District Commissioner’s Office and First National Bank.

Lawrence said he is taking business seriously, and of recent he acquired a business plot in Kanye’s Mheelo ward, adding that he is willing to expand his business to other villages in Botswana, and explore other possibilities such as opening a newspaper shop and even archiving of newspapers.

He said all is possible because he has been given a grant by the Department of Youth and Culture.  Further proof of his charisma was when he was recently seen on Botswana Television, receiving a certificate from Kick-Start, a Kgalagadi Breweries (Pty) Ltd (KBL) entrepreneurship promotion initiative, for being one of the top 10 finalists for this year.

The Weekly Bulletin finds the young man to be creative, talented and skilful, which enables him to survive in these harsh economic times, while other youths, with or without university qualifications, buckle under pressure.

 

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2012-11-09 - NFTRC to train Struizendam beneficiaries

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) is tasked to train Struizendam beneficiaries on how to make jam using wild melons that are common in Kgalagadi.

This was announced at the end of the recent three-day poverty eradication pitso and workshop.

Mr Abia Sebaka (Food Research Scientist) said NFTRC gave a hands-on demonstration of lerotse jam processing as well as grains and legume packaging to 20 participants.

He said NFTRC is assigned to pursue and ensure that those technologies are adopted and used by the beneficiaries of Struizendam.

He said government, which is the funder, would determine when NFTRC would go back to Struizendam for wild melons jam processing.

Ms Kekgabile Letsididi (Assistant Food Research Scientist) said Morama products such as milk and oil fascinated the participants, as they only know of the roasted bean.

She said NFTRC was well received by participants, who were also very impressed with its products and services.

NFTRC team comprised Dr Martin Kebakile, Ms Annah Nkwe Mosele and Ms Kekgabile Letsididi.

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2012-11-09 - NFTRC: A key player in equipping BCA Students

 

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) is playing a vital role in mentoring Botswana College of Agriculture students in their studies.

On Friday, 2 November 2012, another group of students pursing Food Science and Technology visited NFTRC to learn about its laboratory equipment and services.

The students were accompanied by Professor Guletat Desse Haki, John Gwamba and Kethabile Sonno.

The BCA delegates were welcomed to NFTRC by Messrs Selalelo Mpotokwane and Lovemore Marire.

Professor Haki thanked NFTRC for giving BCA the opportunity to visit its laboratories, as they do not have most equipment required in food science and technology.

The students were taken on a guided tour of NFTRC laboratories, where different research scientists briefed them about different equipment and their use.

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2012-11-02 - Ishmael attends BLC and ORD Conference

 

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) Librarian, Mr Ishmael Maikano recently attended a conference to raise awareness, celebrate the progress, share benefits and experiences about providing free online access to research results and their use for socio-economic development.

Mr Maikano said the objectives of the conference were to encourage research institutions/departments and University of Botswana community to carry out online and e-research; connect Botswana based research organisations with technologically developed research organisations worldwide; encourage national research organisations to approve Open Access policies for inter-linkages in research and to encourage the development of quality Open Access journals and Institutional Repositories in Botswana to disseminate research results.

He said this would benefit NFTRC, as its researchers will be able to access open access platform and load their research papers for peer review and have access to other countries’ repositories and publishing companies worldwide.

Mr Maikano said the conference will also help Botswana to diversify its economy through the use of developed open access technologies used globally.

The conference was organised by Botswana Library Consortium (BLC), Office of Research & Development (ORD) and sponsored by Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL).

It was attended by research personnel from Southern African countries, directors and representatives from government and parastatals and University of Botswana students pursuing PhDs.

It was held under the theme “Open Access Drive and Digital Scholarship in Africa”.

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2012-11-02 - BCA students visit NFTRC

Some Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA) students pursuing Bachelors’ Degree in Food Science and Technology on Tuesday visited National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC).

The purpose of the visit was for the students to get first-hand information on cereal processing and analysis.

The students were accompanied by their technicians Mr John Gwamba, Ms Boitumelo Mokobi and Professor Geremew Bultosa.

Dr Keitirele Walker (Principal Research Scientist – Extension and Training) welcomed them to NFTRC.

The students were then taken on a guided tour of NFTRC laboratories, where they were briefed about micro toxins analysis of cereals, processing of cereals into different products and related equipment by different research scientists.

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2012-11-02 - All roads lead to Struizendam

 

This week the National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) was amongst stakeholders attending poverty eradication pitso and workshop in Struizendam in the Kgalagadi District.

Dr Martin Kebakile (Chief Research Scientist – Food Safety) said this time NFTRC showcased Morama products, as the raw material is readily available in the area.

He said NFTRC was also promoting packaging as a simple technique that beneficiaries can use to preserve and enhance the look of their products.

The three-day pitso and workshop was attended by about 1 000 beneficiaries from the four constituencies of Ghanzi North and South and Kgalagadi North and South.

Similar workshops were previously hosted at Diphuduhudu, Sehunou and Motshegaletau.

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2012-10-26 - The last day of enumerators

The enumerators who were employed at Nutrition and Dietetics Department are now leaving the services of National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC).

The enumerators were engaged to conduct a research study on the assessment of exclusivity of breastfeeding and its impact on the nutritional status of HIV infected and uninfected lactating women in Botswana, based in Kanye.

Their role included breastfeeding counselling, administering questionnaires, collecting saliva samples and taking anthropometric measurements.

The Weekly Bulletin had a chat with them and this is what they had to say:

Ms Seinameng Pheto, who was attached at Mmamokhasi clinic and Kanye Seventh-Day Adventist Hospital (KSDAH), said she gained knowledge on data collection and administering skills. She said this will help upgrade her personal life.

Ms Pheto said her involvement in the study made her appreciate the importance of breastfeeding.

She said the challenges she encountered made her grow professionally.

Ms Bantle Modibedi, who was attached at Kgwatlheng clinic, said the research study has made her realise that exclusive breastfeeding for infants under the age of six months is the best and crucial.

Ms Modibedi said she realised that mothers generally lack knowledge about exclusive breastfeeding, adding that more should be done to raise awareness of exclusive breastfeeding mostly for HIV positive mothers.

She said she will use the experience she gained while at NFTRC, to teach people about the exclusive breastfeeding.

Ms Boingotlo Libingi, who was attached at Mafhikana clinic, said she benefited a lot from young child and infant feeding training.

Ms Libingi said she now knows what is required to raise a child from birth.

She said, most mothers did not know much about the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, young child and infant feeding.

Ms Libingi said she will use the experience and knowledge she gained on her child in the future, adding that the experience has moulded her into a motivational speaker.

She said she has been invited to baby showers to talk about breastfeeding, young child and infant feeding.

She said she was lucky to be employed on the study as the experience will contribute significantly to her future.

 Mr Peter Telekelo, who was attached at Dilolwe and Dada clinic, said the research study has benefited him a lot since breastfeeding is only always associated with  women, but he says it takes two to tango.

Mr Telekelo said men should be taught to support and encourages their partners to breastfeed to promote health status of their children.

He said young mothers were reluctant to be part of the study, as they made up the significant number of drop-outs.

Mr Telekelo said he is going to use the experience he got from NFTRC to empower women about breastfeeding to improve health status of their infants.

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2012-10-19 - NFTRC Researcher benefits from SANBio fellowship

 

Dr Sarah Matenge (Research Scientist – Nutrition and Dietetics) recently attended a three-months training on food analytical procedures.

The training, at Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Biosciences Unit (Natural Products and Agro-processing Platform-Food Science Group) was on a Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio) fellowship.

SANBio is a NEPAD programme covering countries in Southern African that aims at building and strengthening human capacity in biosciences and promotion of access to affordable world class research facilities within Southern Africa.

Dr Matenge said she gained hands on experience in analytical methods to determine the nutritional and non-nutritional content of selected indigenous foods of Botswana.

She said the training focused on: quantification of polyphenols by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), determination of total phenol content using Folin-Ciocalteu method and antioxidant activity using proximate analysis.

She said she now has technical capacity to offer assistance in the on-going Food Composition Table of indigenous foods of Botswana project.

Dr Matenge said it was good to be attached to an institution with similar projects, as the assistance she got was not only theoretical but also practical.

She said the training would also strengthen collaboration between NFTRC and CSIR.

She urged NFTRC staff members to take advantage of such fellowships to nurture their careers and enhance NFTRC work.

Meanwhile, Dr Matenge also attended a conference to mark SANBio’s four years of its existence.

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2012-10-19 - A day in the life of a graduate intern

 

Mr Kingsley Motshegwe is a graduate intern attached at Microbiology and Biotechnology Department.

Kingsley completed his Degree in Biotechnology, majoring in Food Microbiology and Recombinant DNA Technology at Vaal University of Technology in 2011.

In an interview with the Weekly Bulletin he said he is grateful for the opportunity, that National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) has availed for him to test his skills and abilities.

He said he is now putting all the theory and experiments he did in school to use.

He said his daily responsibilities include routine sample testing from both external and internal clients.

Kingsley said he sometimes performs his duties with minimal supervision, as his supervisors have faith in him.

He said lack of funds is a disadvantage as some of the projects, which have now been put on the back burner, were going to expose him further.

Kingsley sees the lack of funds as limiting both his personal and professional growth.

He expressed the hope that fortunes will change for NFTRC in the near future to enable it to perform its core mandate, which is research

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2012-10-19 - POVERTY ERADICATION TASK TEAM RECEIVE TRAINING ON POVERTY

 

Dr Martin Kebakile, Chief Research Scientist, who is also a member of the Poverty Eradication Task Team (PETT), recently attended a training workshop on various issues related to poverty in Zanzibar.

The workshop, which was sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme in partnership with the Government of Botswana was designed to put PETT members at the same level of understanding about the prevalence of poverty in Botswana, how it is measured, and the interventions put in place by government.

Dr Kebakile said the training also equipped participants with tools for monitoring and evaluating poverty.

He said in addition to training sessions, the team also visited Talana Farm to have an appreciation of how agricultural projects could be used as strategies to address unemployment and poverty.

He said during the visit, the team derived lessons, which will be used to enhance the success of the current poverty eradication programme.

Dr Kebakile said the farm visit validated previously gathered information about the level of post-harvest losses experienced by commercial farms in the SPEDU what does SPEDU stand for???? region.

He said this also reinforced NFTRC’s proposed concept of establishing a value addition facility in Selibe-Phikwe.

Dr Kebakile said the team also visited Tsetsebjwe Mill.

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2012-10-19 - Breastfeeding study nears completion

 

National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) ‘s research study on the assessment of exclusivity of breastfeeding and its impact on the nutritional status of HIV infected and uninfected lactating women in Botswana based in Kanye is nearing completion.

Principal Research Scientist, (Nutrition) Dr Boitumelo Stokie Motswagole said data collection was completed at the end of September.

Dr Motswagole said enumerators are currently entering the the.

She said since the enumerators’ contracts end at the end of this month, any follow-ups on participants will be done by Nutrition and Dietetics staff.

She said the study faced many challenges, including high number of drop-outs, hence they were not able to reach their target of 60 participants.

Dr Motswagole however said analysis would be done on available numbers, on which also the findings will be based.

She said the enumerators failed to enrol new participants to replace drop-outs, which led to financial constrains as more costs wereincurred.

Dr Motswagole said the data would be analysed upon her return from a data analysis workshop she is to attendin Sudan, adding that the findings should be expected early next year.

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2012-10-19 - What is the significance of Independence Day?

 

On Sunday September 30, 2012, Botswana celebrated 46 years of independence, which is just four years to its golden jubilee.

The golden jubilee also marks the end of the country’s Vision 2016 and NFTRC’s strategic plan.

With this background and the call for introspection that was made in the September 28th issue of the Weekly Bulletin some NFTRC staff members were interviewed about the significance of Independence Day and this is what they had to say:

Clara Ntsimane

Ms Clara Ntsimane, a Graphic Designers, said she understand Independence Day as the birthday of the Republic of Botswana.

She said even though she appreciates the level of peace we have in Botswana she takes Independence Day as just a day off work.

Clara said the peace that prevails in Botswana has made Batswana neglect the assertiveness to earn what they deserve such as innovation to boost the economy, freedom of speech and to enjoy themselves without too many restrictions.

She said it is a bitter day for her looking at the resources and manpower we have as Batswana, but only managing to achieve a few things.

She said she celebrated Independence Day with her family and loved ones neglecting the meaning of the day.

Ms Odireleng Keipopele

Ms Odireleng Keipopele, Assistant Research Scientist said something should be done to sensitise people about the significance of Independence Day.

Odireleng said to her Independence Day is just like any other day on which she was doing her own things and attending weddings.

She said she appreciates the freedom we have and the progress that Botswana has made since Independence.

Mr Mopati Ditaolana

Mr Mopati Ditaolana, a Senior Accounts Officer, said Independence Day has lost its meaning as he treats it as any other holiday.

Mopati said things have changed as in the past people used to gather at their Dikgotla to celebrate the day.

He said government used to sponsor traditional events such as dance, drama, poetry and free food used to spice up the day, which across the country.

He urged Batswana to retrace their steps to find how the meaning of Independence Day was lost, which he said would benefit the young generation.

Mr Keolopile Lekgoanyana

Mr Keolopile Lekgoanyana, Secretary to the Director of Research and Development said he understands Independence Day as a day to celebrate Botswana’s sovereignty.

Keolopile said gaining independence means detaching from a force or government that had been ruling Botswana and running our own affairs.

He said the day brings a sense of fear to him as it means responsibility and accountability to build our country.

He stressed that accountability and responsibility are the only driving forces that can show independence.

Keolopile said he celebrated the day by resting, as he feels he is doing enough for this country.

He however said more needs to be done to mobilise people to celebrate the day at their Dikgotla as it used to be the case in the past as that brought a sense of belonging.

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2012-10-19 - Training Workshop for NFTRC staff on re-working of processes according to ISO 9001:2008

 

Mrs Asha Mam, a Senior Consultant at the Botswana National Productivity Centre recently conducted a one-day Quality Management System (QMS) refresher workshop for National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) staff.

Mrs Mam who is NFTRC’s QMS mentor gave a detailed explanation on how to document a process using customer expectations, and using the Biochemistry/Microbiology and Biotechnology process on testing as a template.

She used a participatory approach to project other processes and guide staff members on how to describe their processes, focusing on customer satisfaction as the instigating factor.

Mrs Mam stressed the need to establish who the customers are, their expectations, the issues they have raised concerning the service and measures to be put in place to monitor this service as well as means of correcting and preventing non-conforming service.

She said it is imperative to define what constitutes non-conforming service for each of the described core processes.

She said some documents compiled for ISO 17025:2005 could be used for documentation in ISO 9001:2008, such as the six compulsory procedures stipulated in ISO9001:2008, which are also mandatory for ISO 17025:2005.

The mentor said any procedures in ISO17025:2005 referred to in the ISO 9001:2008 Manual should be complete at the time of auditing ISO 9001:2008. 

By inference, the Quality Manual for ISO17025:2005  as well as all the compulsory procedures mentioned in Clause 4.0 of ISO 17025:2005 should be complete before audits for ISO9001:2005 begin.

Mrs Mam urged process owners to submit their processes to her for  by the 16th September 2012. 

Dr Mary Binta said the workshop highlighted the importance of customer satisfaction at every level in the organisation.

Dr Binta said she is hopeful that after the mentor’s workshop all core processes would be completed by October 15th 2012, to pave way for an audit in December.

 

 

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2012-09-28 - NFTRC attends Vision 2016 commemoration

 

The National Food Technology Research Centre (NF