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'Francistown needs food lab'

16 Mar 2023

Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, Coliform, Clostridium botulinum and many others are nasty pathogens that hide in the food we eat. 

To ensure there are none, or find out which one is afflicting people when there is an outbreak, the food is subjected to a laboratory test. 

And it is wrong that Francistown City has no food laboratory to carry out those tests, said Specially Elected Councillor, Modiri Lucas at a recent business seminar here. 

“It is time Francistown, as the second city of the country, had a food laboratory,” he said and promised he would take the matter up with Francistown City Council (FCC) l, which he hoped would see the urgent need for one. 

This he said in response to a concern raised by Ms Metinah Kale of Gerald Estates. 

Ms Kale who specialises in refrigerated food items, was worried that despite the fact the city had many food hawkers it had no food lab to analyse food and drinks for health hazards and other parametres, to ensure public safety. 

On other issues, Councillor Lucas informed the seminar that the city council recognised the role played by the informal sector in growing its economy and improving livelihoods of residents. 

He said Francistown was characterised by high-density, low-income areas whose dwellers were mainly informal traders.

 “Due to this high density of food hawkers, the city had come up with an informal sector strategy to help address relationship between the council and vendors,” he said. 

He explained that one of the key elements of the strategy was to ensure that those in the informal sector traded in a harmonised manner. 

Already, the strategy was working, as evidenced by the fast-growing numbers of food and street hawkers in the city, he said. 

“Francistown is the only city in Botswana with the highest number of street hawkers and vendors and this is commendable because the informal sector plays a pivotal role in the city’s local economy,” he said. 

Councillor Lucas said the strategy had resulted in fewer complaints from food and street hawkers, especially over harassment by council staff. 

He advised the informal sector to venture into partnerships or form associations to speak in one voice. 

Speaking at the same event, business executive with Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), Ms Tsholofelo Aaron informed the participants to take opportunities that LEA provided to improve their livelihoods. 

“LEA exists to supply critical non-funding business development interventions and promote general entrepreneurship and SMME awareness,” she said. 

Ms Aaron said government was doing much to create employment through policies and programmes, but Batswana were failing on their part to utilise them. 

She expressed worry that most projects funded by government continued to collapse despite beneficiaries receiving training in business management. 

Ms Aaron advised participants to work as joint ventures towards accessing new markets and distribution networks. She said other benefits included increased capacity, risk and cost sharing, access to new knowledge and expertise, including specialised staff as well as access to more resources such as technology and finance. 

The seminar, themed “Creating networking platform and un-locking business opportunities” was meant to lobby for recognition of poverty eradication beneficiaries as potential suppliers to government institutions. 

The other objective was to establish a business clinic in partnership with Francistown College of Technical and Vocational Education (FCTVE) as well as to re-ignite the spirit of business among Gerald Estate community. 

Mr Baganne Mokgosi of KellyB Investment organised the seminar. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Thamani Shabani


Event : Business Seminar

Date : 16 Mar 2023