Food Technology

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Main function of the Department

The objectives of the Food Technology Department are to research, develop and commercialise products and services to enhance NFTRC’s visibility and contribution to the growth of the agro-processing sector, through increased and quick uptake of the R&D outputs and success in technology transfer.

The department’s main objectives are:
• To undertake research and development for a wide range of food products from bench-top to pilot-scale.
• To transfer appropriate technologies to the food industry
• To provide technical assistance and support in food safety as well as in setting-up and operating food processing enterprises.

Services and Products

• Process design and optimisation
• Value addition to agricultural produce through food product development
• Process development including the use of food additives, colourings, flavourings and texture modifiers.
• Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and good hygiene practice (GHP)
• Packaging and labelling
• Product standardisation
• Physico-chemical characterisation of food products
• Sensory evaluation
• Food modelling and engineering
• Provision of information on supplier contact details

Charges for Services/Products:

The department’s service charges range from provision of a technical description document at P5260-00/product, process optimisation consultancy at P155.00/hour and product development with exclusive or non-exclusive Intellectual Property (IP) Agreement and variable charges.


Anyone involved in food safety; product and process development, regardless of whether or not they own a food processing facility.

Collaborations and Professional Networks:

Collaboration with Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa on food related research, value addition and product development.

Contribution to National Initiatives:

Contribution to two of the Vision 2016 Pillars of “An educated, informed nation”, and “A prosperous, productive and innovative nation”; through knowledge and technology transfer to diversify the economy through food production and related industries, create wealth, create employment, eradicate poverty and improve food security in Botswana.

Current Projects

• Development and operationalisation of test beds for meat processing; cereal and legume process; dairy processing; beverage processing; fruit and vegetable processing. The test beds will not only assist in the upscaling and commercialisation of developed food product prototypes and technology transfer but marketing testing for products/projects undertaken by both NFTRC-trained and non NFTRC-trained food entrepreneurs.
• Promotion of value addition to indigenous foods. NFTRC realises that R&D and commercialisation of Botswana’s indigenous foods has a major role to play in the country’s Economic Diversification Drive as well as the Economic Stimulus and Poverty Eradication programmes.

Past or Completed Projects:

The general objective was product development with the ultimate view to commercialise the products. The projects are as follows.
• Morama Project – through the University of Botswana (UB) and the EU Research Framework – product development and commercialisation
• Morama Engaged – Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) – through collaboration with UB
• Sorghum and Millet Project – through the EU Research Framework
• Sweet Potato Project – product development – funded by the Southern African Root-crop Research Network (SARRNET)
• Soyfoods Development Project – funded by the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH)
• Preservation and Processing of the Kgalagadi Truffle – Kalaharituber pfeilii – funded by the International Foundation for Science – product development and commercialisation
• Molecular, Environmental and Nutritional Evaluation of Bambara Groundnut (Vigna subterranea L.Verdc.) for Food Production in Semi-Arid Africa and India – laboratory and pilot plant tests to assess processing, nutritional, and sensory parameters of selected bambara groundnut genotypes – through collaboration with the Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA), under the EU Research Framework – product development.

Departmental Publications

• Mpotokwane S.M., Walker K.P., Matenge S.T., Molefe G., Magowe T.K. Product Standardization and Development of Commercializable Packages for Botswana's Priority Indigenous Food Technologies. IUFoST 2014. Montreal. Canada.
• Mpotokwane S.M., Tlhong T., Mthombeni F., and J.C. Jackson. 2013. Effect of pre-processing on the physico-chemical properties of morama bean (Tylosema esculentum) milk. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, 13:1; 7105-7121
• Moatshe T., Masisi K., Phuthego L., Mpotokwane S.M., Mthombeni F., Tlhong T.M. and Jackson J. Effect of morama flour on textural, nutritional and functional properties of cookies. IUFoST 2012. Foz do Iguassu. Brazil
• Mpotokwane S.M., Lesenya T., Thutoetsile G.O., Gwamba J., Gaseboloke K., Mopako B., Sonno K., Kebakile M.M., Mithen R., Tlhong T.M. Using SPME-GC-MS and Sensory Analyses as Tools in Developing Appropriate Kgalagadi Desert Truffle (Kalaharituber pfeilii) Products in Botswana. IUFoST 2012. Foz do Iguassu. Brazil
• Mpotokwane S.M. and Mbah S.N. 2011. A Sui Generis System for the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Folklore – A Comparative Analysis of Nigeria and Botswana. WIPO Publication No. 797 E/10: 455-484
• Jackson J.C., Duodu K.G., Holse M., Lima de Faria M.D., Jordaan D., Chingwaru W., Hansen A., Cencic A., Kandawa-Schultz M., Mpotokwane S.M., Chimwamurombe P., de Kock H.L. and Minnaar A. The Morama Bean (Tylosema esculentum): A Potential Crop for Southern Africa. Advances in Food and Nutrition Research, 61:187-246. 2010. Academic Press
• Mpotokwane S.M. Investigating the Potential for Production of Non-Dairy Milk Products from Bambara Groundnuts. IUFoST 2010. Cape Town, South Africa
• Mpotokwane S.M., Ralefala M.P., Mokotedi M., Mosetlha K., Nkwe-Mosele A.N., Kamakama M., Bogopa J.; Functional Components in Traditionally Consumed Foods from Botswana; 5th International Technical Symposium on Food Processing, Monitoring Technology in Bioprocesses and Food Quality Management; Aug 31st to Sept 2nd, 2009; Potsdam, Germany
• Jideani V.A. and Mpotokwane S.M., Modeling of Water Absorption of Botswana Bambara Varieties using Peleg’s Equation; Journal of Food Engineering; Vol. 92 (2009) pp: 182-188
• Ralefala M.P., Leareng S., Dehlane T., Mokhawa G., Phokoje O., Mpotokwane, S. Bulawayo, B. and Ezeogu L.; Characterization of Lactobacilli in Fermented Sorghum Flour (Ting) using PCR-DGGE; Food and Function 2009; 9th-11th June 2009; Zilina, Slovakia
• Mpotokwane S.M. 2008. Sorghum and Millets Consumption Patterns in Botswana; Proceedings of workshop on Alternative Cereal Processing Technologies; 4th-6th November 2008; Lobatse, Botswana
• Mpotokwane S. M., Tomlinson P., Gaditlhatlhelwe E., Sebaka A., Masisi K., Jideani I. A., Tomlinson W.; Consumer Acceptance of Bonutrix, a Highly Nutrient-dense Peanut-based Spread; ISEKI ISEKI Food 2008 – Bridging Training and Research for Industry and the Wider Community; 10-12 September 2008; Porto; Portugal
• Mpotokwane S.M., Gaditlhatlhelwe E.G., Sebaka A., and Jideani V.A.; Physical Properties of Bambara Groundnuts from Botswana; Journal of Food Engineering; Vol. 89 (2008) pp: 93-98
• Mpotokwane S.M., Sopejame M., Gaditlhatlhelwe E., Mosele M.M., Tlhong T.M., Ramosako T., Phokoje O., Mmonatau Y., Mthombeni F., Mahgoub S., and J.C. Jackson; Chemical and Physical Characteristics of Marama Milk as affected by Processing Method; SAAFoST 2007 – 19th Biennial Congress and Exhibition; Durban; South Africa; August 2007
• Mpotokwane S.M.; Increasing the Utilization of Terfezia pfeilii for Economic Diversification in Botswana; In: Khabar L. ed. Actes de Premier Symposium sur les Champignons Hypoges du Basin Mediteraneen; Rabat; Morocco; 6-8 Avril 2004. pp.221-232; 2006.
• Mpotokwane, S.M., Nkwe-Mosele A.N. and Thamage D.; Development of Functional and Nutraceutical Foods Using Natural Raw Materials Indigenous to Botswana; In: Proceedings of the First Biennial Conference on Agricultural Research and Development; Gaborone; Botswana; 24-26 May 2005; pp.241-247; 2005.
• Maruatona G.N., Kebakile M.M., Mpotokwane S.M. and Gaditlhatlhelwe E.; Botswana’s Experience: Enriching sorghum flour with defatted soy flour; Collaborative project between the National Food Technology Research Centre (Botswana), the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WiSHH) and Nutritional Products (Pty) Ltd – Botswana; 7th International Soyfood Conference; Pretoria; South Africa; 2004.
• Mpotokwane S.M.; Economic Usage of Water in the Food Processing Industry in Botswana – presented at the 17th Biennial Conference of the World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organizations (WAITRO); Nairobi; Kenya; September 2004.
• Mpotokwane S.M.; Product Development: From Customer Needs to Launch – an adaptation of the annual one-day seminar, “From Recipe to Reality” (University of Nebraska – Food Processing Center); presented at the Market Strategies for Food Enterprises in Botswana workshop; Syringa Hotel; Gaborone; Botswana; March 2004.
• Kebakile M.M., Mpotokwane S., Motswagole B.S.; Lima de Faria M, Santo P, Domingues M., Saraiva C.; Consumer Attitudes to Sorghum Foods in Botswana; Afripo 2003 Conference Proceedings; 2003.
• Motswagole, B. S., Wambete, J.T., Mpotokwane, S. M., Leteane, T., Tlhong, T., Kwape, L. D.; Botswana Traditional Dishes and their Nutritional Adequacy in the Diet: Is Food Fortification Needed?; FoodAfrica (NRI Publication) - Food, Nutrition and Health; Yaounde; Cameroon; 5-9 May 2003.
• Mpotokwane S.M.; Economic Implications of Fortification; presented at Millers’s Workshop; Gaborone; Botswana; February 2003.
• Wambete, J. & Mpotokwane, S. Investigating opportunities for bambara groundnut in the development of weaning foods; In: Proceedings of the International Bambara Groundnut Symposium; Gaborone; Botswana; 2003.
• Mpotokwane S.M.; Carbohydrate Changes During Lactic Acid Fermentation of Finger Millet (Eleusine coracan) and Kidney Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris); Thesis - MSc. Food Science and Technology; Dept. of Food Technology & Nutrition; Faculty of Agricultural & Applied Biological Sciences; University of Ghent; Belgium; September 1999.
• Ohiokpehai, O., Botsalo, S. and Mpotokwane, S.; Consumer preferences for the Use of Cereal Products in Botswana-An Urban Area Survey; TWOS General Assembly and International Conference: Women, Science and Technology for Sustainable Human Development 8-11 February; 1999.
• Ohiokpehai, O, Botsalo, S.B., Mpotokwane, S.M., Espirito Santo, P., Domingues, M. and Faria M.; Consumer Preferences and Utilization of Sorghum and Millet in Rural Areas of Botswana; Botswana Notes and Records, v. 30, pp: 163-169; 1999
• Javaid, I. & Mpotokwane S.M. — Evaluation of plant material for the control of Callosobruchus maculatus (Fabricius) (Coleoptera: Bruchidae) in cowpea seeds; African Entomology Vol. 5 (1997); pp 357–359
• Kebakile M.M., Mpotokwane S., Botsalo B.S.; Scientific Project Report: Collaborative Project to Investigate Consumer Preferences for Selected Sorghum and Millet Products in the SADC Region of Africa; Botswana Technology Centre- Food Technology Research Service; 1997
• Ohiokpehai O., Bulawayo B., Mpotokwane S., Sekwati B. and Bertinuson A.; Expanding the Uses of Phane, A Nutritionally Rich Local Food – Proceedings of the First Multidisciplinary Symposium on Phane; Eds. Gashe B. A., Leggett K. and Mpuchane S. F.; University of Botswana; Gaborone; June 1996; pp 84-103
• Mpotokwane S.M.; Physical and Sensory Evaluation of Groundnut-fortified Sorghum-Wheat Composite Cakes – Proceedings of the Fourth Regional Group Training Programme on ‘Applied Food Analysis’; Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology; Kenya; March 1996
• Kebakile M.M., Mpotokwane S., Botsalo S.B.; Review of Millets in Botswana - Production, Processing, Marketing and Utilization - A Study carried under the ‘Collaborative Project to Investigate Consumer Preferences for Selected Sorghum and Millet Products in the SADC Region of Africa’; Botswana Technology Centre- Food Technology Research Service; 1996
• Botsalo B. S. and Mpotokwane S.; Water Purification; paper appearing in News on Technology – Botswana Technology Centre Newsletter; February 1995