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Milk Afric moo-ving closer

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Milk Afric moo-ving closer

BDC target June start for a dairy project

Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) has tentatively targeted June as the start date to finally get operations at Milk Afric up and running.

Launched in April 2016 with the aim of revolutionising the local dairy industry, five years later and the Lobatse-based milk venture is yet to take off.

Indeed, the June commencement is far from certain, with BDC Head – Corporate Affairs & Strategy, Boitshwarelo Lebang admitting it is dependent on first identifying a suitable partner.

Milk Afric moo-ving closer

HEAD OF CORPORATE AFFAIRS STRATEGY: Boitshwarelo Lebang

The Corporation recently floated an Expression of Interest (EOI) inviting interested parties to invest in the project in exchange for an equity stake.

“This process is still underway and has so far involved floating an EOI locally and into the region to widen the pool for potential partners that have the experience to walk with us in the journey to local milk sufficiency,” explained Lebang, who did not say what sort of feedback the EOI generated even though it closed in January.

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Lebang told Voice Money the EOI has a minimum citizen equity participation requirement of 26 percent, which she insisted presents a great opportunity for Batswana to invest in the project.

“The project, although under implementation, has experienced operational delays to its commencement which have further been complicated by the outbreak of foot and mouth in South Africa and the Covid-19 Pandemic,” she added, explaining the five-year delay.

Lebang further noted the recent exit by the venture’s initial partners caused another delay as BDC was forced to halt commencement preparations and solicit a partner to drive the Strategy and Operation Readiness plan.

BDC initially had a partner, who according to Lebang was in line with BDC’s investment strategy to grow Botswana’s local dairy production and enhance national food security. But the technical partner has since left, reportedly to focus on other business interests.

In preparation for the dairy project, in 2016 Milk Afric enrolled 15 students to study Dairy Management at the University of Florida, United States of America.

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“The students were further trained by Alliance Dairies, an affiliate of Milk Afric Alliance. Nine students graduated in 2017 specializing in different sections,” said Lebang, adding eight of the students have been retained and are currently serving as Managers assisting in the implementation of the project.

“Milk Afric has further enrolled seven students under the same programme and is expected to graduate by June 2021,” she revealed.

 

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