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The farmers’ middleman

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The farmers' middleman

Me and My Business

Realizing the gap in the market and in order to address farmers struggles, Mogomotsi Modikoane and his partners have created a platform where farmers meet to sell and buy products from across the country.

Speaking to Voice Money, Modikoane says last year they created a platform known as Tselayagwe Investments which could represent the farmers and to facilitate trading of livestock.

“What we do is that, we go to the farms, take pictures and put them online and advertise on our social media pages as well and we have been receiving requests from all over the country,” said the 32 year old entrepreneur from Molepolole.

Explaining how the platform works, Modikoane says once they have uploaded pictures of livestock being sold, potential buyers will express their interest and if they agree to the price they buy through the same platform.

He says Tselayagwe does not dictate the price of the livestock, but sell at a price that that has been put up by the seller, adding that they only get five percent commission from sales.

“We rely on farmers and availability of livestock up for sale. We go out there to find out what farmers are willing to sell, then link them to potential buyers through this platform,” he revealed.

The company also serves as an agent for those who are looking for livestock and they use the same platform to find potential sellers.

While initially Tselayagwe mainly focused on the trading of livestock, the owners are now broadening the scope to include horticulture.

The farmers' middleman
INSPIRING FARM: Modikoane’s cattle

“This one links you directly to the farmer as a consumer so that you get your food at a lower price. Why this concept? A farmer produces cabbage and sells it to a retail store for P5.00 which is going to be paid after 30 days,” said Modikoane.

Now, through the platform, he says farmers can sell directly to consumers at a lower price if the courtesy of delivery is not included.

Although the horticulture platform is yet to be rolled out, he reckons it will be a success just like the one for livestock.

“We are still short on resources to facilitate trading of horticultural products through the platform.We’re still busy with livestock platform which is also becoming overwhelming because now we are sitting on an order of 450 cattle,” he revealed proudly.

Tselayagwe comprises a team of five, including Modikoane who is the founder and heads the sales and procurement department as well.

Modikoane feels Tselayagwe has been beautifully embraced by the local farmers and figures speak for themselves.

“It is quite impressive that we have been able to get these orders in a period of just months.”

The company has its own registered farmers on the database whom they can contact should the need arise.

While currently the company only fetches a commission from sale of livestock, Modikoane says they will soon introduce service fees where farmers buy a stall online with membership.

“The membership will mean that we have a farmer’s profile for our database. We create a file for a farmer on our database and all the information that a buyer will need to know about the seller will be readily available,” he explained.

Through the creation of the platform, Modikoane says they are looking to commercialize farming in the country, saying the platform is the first step towards their goal.

“The agric sector is quite vast and has the potential to create a number of jobs, and I appeal to farmers to come on board,” said Modikoane, adding that soon they will be opening offices across the country.

The company’s core focus has been in Ghanzi district due to the area being rich in livestock, particularly cattle.

Modikoane says their business will also have spillover effects on other services such as transportation.

“We operate a truck but it’s not enough and we are not going to go out and buy more trucks. So we want those who have trucks to rent routes to transport these livestock while we facilitate in their trading,” he said in conclusion.

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A teacher on a disc

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A teacher on a disc

EU-Pick Tutorial to revolutionise distance learning

At a time when governments across the world have suspended school terms in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus, the biggest challenge faced by the education sector is how to ensure learning continues outside the classroom.

Three gentlemen from Francistown may just have the answer.

Lawrence Khuwa and Vincent Sebele of EU-Pick Tutorial are spearheading distance learning through videos, audio and using indigenous languages.

In an interview with Voice Money, Khuwa revealed they decided to translate learning materials first to Setswana after realising many students fail primarily because they do not understand due to the language used during lessons.

“In January we distributed tutorial videos in secondary schools around Francistown,” he said, adding this was done free of charge.

Khuwa said they have approached more schools to start uploading the videos, which can then be shared with students using other mediums such as USB, compact discs and even audio.

“It has to be something kids can use at home, because we do understand that not everyone has access to a computer. We also have the audio version of the tutorial material for students to listen to during their spare time,” he said.

“We’ve tested these videos and our students all posted impressive results,” declared Khuwa, revealing they also plan to roll out the programme to primary schools imminently.

The third piece of this jigsaw is Dr Tampiwa Chebani of Tach Multimedia who explained the project’s overall target is to improve results in both junior and senior secondary schools which have been on a downward spiral in recent years.

“We’re also looking at the modern student and are trying by all means to use gadgets that they are accustomed to!”

Dr Chebani noted that the 21st century learner is used to consuming content through audios and videos via the many gadgets available in the market.

“Most don’t really want to sit in class and listen to a teacher and we thought the use of videos would be more appealing and fun,” he added.

He further said since they use indigenous languages it also enhances learning and makes it easier for parents to be more involved in their children’s schoolwork.

“Through these videos we’re able to do remote tutoring for kids living in far places. It is also ideal for parents who can’t afford tutorial fees,” he said.

The determined trio further told Voice Money that they intend to approach private companies and propose a partnership or collaboration in an effort to increase EU-Pick Tutorial’s reach.

Currently the learning materials, which focus on areas that historically students have struggled in, are only available in Setswana but they plan to release a Kalanga version soon.

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Business

Payless to pay more!

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Payless to pay more!

Choppies drag Payless owner to court over P121 million debt

Choppies, through its distribution centre, has dragged Payless supermarket’s majority shareholder, Saleem Malique to court over unpaid debts.

Choppies Distribution Centre (CDC) had loaned an amount of P121 048 424.78 to Payless supermarkets. Indeed, in total, the doomed enterprise owes suppliers P1.3 billion.

It has now been deemed through the Companies Act that Payless is unable to pay the money owed to CDC.

In a recently released circular to its shareholders, Choppies confirmed it has been unable to recover the P121 million debt.

On the 13th of March this year, the High Court granted a provisional order for the winding up of Payless supermarkets and the appointment of a provisional liquidator.

A final order of the liquidation is expected to be made on 27 April 2020.

During the liquidation process, the liquidator will, as directed by the High Court, evaluate the prospects of selling the business as a whole or individually.

As a secured creditor, Choppies has told shareholders that CDC may, if appropriate, support the provisional liquidator in operating the business in order to enable sale of the business or businesses.

Now Choppies has taken Malique, who holds a 90 percent shareholding in Payless Supermarkets, to court after he failed to execute a deed of suretyship which he guaranteed as a surety, guarantor and co-principal debtor.

It is said Malique had committed to take responsibility for Payless supermarkets obligations to CDC, ceding and pledging his Payless shares.

After being issued with demand by CDC for payment of the outstanding P121 million, Malique reportedly failed to effect payment of such amount.

As a result, Choppies through its distribution centre, approached the courts of laws seeking judgment against Malique for the full payment of the debt as well as interest.

The company also wants Malique’s Payless shares to be attached. He was served with summons on 3 March.

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