VCF promises to transform Botswana agribusiness

12th February 2018
Tshepiso Ntshobotho, Value Chain Farming Africa MD Source:The Midweek Sun

Over 200 members of the Value Chain Farming (VCF) Africa-Botswana are optimistic that if they work together they will ultimately be able to feed the nation and sell beyond borders. The farmers converged in a three-day Summer School and Conference theme, ‘Unlocking Agricultural Opportunities,’ that took place at Ave Maria Conference Centre and Botswana Univeristy of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) in Sebele, hosted in partnership with Botswana Insurance Company. Speaking at the event, Managing Director of Value Chain Farming Africa, Tshepiso Ntshobotho said the event is a bi-annual school that runs during summer and a second session in the winter session called Agribusiness Winter School and Conference.

She explained that the events are designed as crash classes in latest critical information on Agribusiness. “The conference is critical to my farmers, my partners and even for my environment. “We have focused on problems in Agriculture for far too long. What I have been craving for is solutions and new innovations to tackle these problems,” she said. VCF Africa is an Agribusiness Consortium of BEXA Consulting, Private Department of Food Energy and Enviromental Studies (DAFEES) both in Italy, Alieforg in Zimbabwe and Longreach International, which Ntshobotho co-owns. Ntshobotho, who has a Degree in Animal Health and Production, said her company is geared up for massive transformation of the Botswana Agribusiness industry.

“Our thrust is not only to close the import gap but have connected our farmers to the global market. The World Bank has said by 2050, 80 percent of the world’s food will be coming from Africa. We hold the world’s largest chunk of arable land. We have always been destined to take care of the world.” According to Ntshobotho, VCF is connected to the continent biggest Tilapia farmer and distributor, that is, Lake Harvest that operates according to the highest world standards. The organisation is also connected to the continent’s biggest fresh produce distributor, Rolex Imports and Exports with its core expertise in air and land freight of perishable produce. VCF has connections with Global Markets through their sole standing subsidiary, Nhimbe Imports and Exports.

“My company is part of a network of over 7 000 food exporters and importers. I am talking of our produce not only having access to local chains but also going as far as big food chains like TESCO. Our goals for Botswana include; to have 80 000 commercial Good Agriculture Practices certified farms over the next 10 years; 400 000 hectares of irrigated land; 486 345 direct job and 80 109 processing centres,” Ntshobotho said. Currently, VCF represent over 200 active members of the Value Chain Farming Africa-Botswana network. “We are processing their funding through a local bank,” Ntshobotho said. She is confident that her company will sustain member-farmers through five key pillars who have decided to commercialise and expand their market beyond Botswana. The key pillars are; access to finance, access to markets, access to information, access to water and access to contemporary efficient technology.

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