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Maungo Craft makes it to

24 May 2023

The untapped niche of processed food from indigenous fruits has earned Maungo Craft a whole market and business.

Established in 2017, Maungo Craft targets a range of indigenous fruits to create distinctive delicious preserves such as jams, sauces, syrups, and fruit rolls.

Maungo Craft flavours, in particular Roasted Chilli, Garlic & Marula Hot Sauce recently received five-star (5*) rating on, a feat worth celebrating since the products were the first from Botswana to sell on an international online platform.

Expounding on their journey to building the power brand, Maungo Craft co-founder, also managing director, Ms Bonolo Monthe credits the strides made to a combination of strategic partnerships, targeted marketing efforts and continuous product innovation.

Over the past five years, Ms Monthe and her business partner Mr Olayemi Aganga dedicated their time to the agro-processing and marketing industry, where they successfully built Maungo Craft to be an award-winning brand. Their craft is premised on the commitment to promote sustainability and reduce food waste by incorporating unique fruits into their products to give them a distinct flavour that cannot easily be replicated.

Consequently, the much talked about Roasted Chilli, Garlic & Marula Hot Sauce, which seems to have found a second home in the international market, also received positive reviews last year from Bloomberg’s lifestyle magazine, Bloomberg Pursuits, where it was hyped as a product to look out for.

The magazine is quoted saying, “For a similarly good sauce that you don’t have to make, look to Maungo Craft’s Roasted Chilli, Garlic & Marula Hot Sauce (US$13.30/P180.88). 

If you were in Botswana, where this sauce is made, you might have it at a backyard braai…Its mildly smoky spice flavour is also suited to less exotic offerings such as chicken wings.”

“This has brought us excitement as somehow we are being recognised for introducing to the world indigenous foods that are underrepresented in the food system,” she says.

Ms Monthe and her business partner continuously strive for innovation and quality to create novel and interesting flavours that captivate the taste buds of their customers, an aspect that makes Maungo Craft unique.

“Whether it is our award-winning vegan preserves or our delectable hot sauces, each product is carefully crafted with a combination of traditional techniques and modern culinary expertise,” she says beaming with pride. She specifies the use of morula and mowana fruits as well as lerotse (melon) as some of their staple ingredients, saying it was the sole reason why they prided themselves on the slogan: Culture in a Bottle. 

“Our mission is to up-cycle underused indigenous fruits, reduce food waste, and create green jobs in Africa,” she says.

As a result, their efforts earned them 13 awards locally, regionally and internationally, including a gold at the World Marmalades Awards in the United Kingdom.

“We have received two Great Taste Awards from the Guild of Fine Foods in the UK. 

The Great Taste Awards are like the Oscars of food. 

We have also been endorsed by Martha Stewart, an iconic and household food celebrity. 

We have been featured on VOA, CNBC, BBC and recently CNN - Inside Africa.”

Ms Monthe holds a background in Human Resource Management and BA in Communication Science from the University of South Africa, where she graduated Cum Laude. 

She also recently completed her Master of Business Creation from the University of Utah.

“What I learned at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business has already played a vital role in helping to shape our business strategy and development, says the Mandela Washington Fellow and member of the Generation Africa Steering Committee, who strives to make a meaningful impact on the continent’s entrepreneurship and agricultural sectors.

Ms Monthe has had the privilege of sharing her insights and advocating for the importance of orphan crops in Botswana’s food system at international fora, from Norway to the African Union (AU) in Ethiopia.

She says strong partnerships and community involvement has given them a competitive advantage, as they work closely with smallholder farmers, empowering them and providing them with fair trade opportunities.

This has not only ensured a sustainable supply chain, but also enabled them to source high-quality fruits directly from the communities where they are grown. Maungo Craft has had the opportunity to develop a strong foundation through the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) incubation processes, which played a role in the HACCP certification of their facility.

“We were operating from home between 2017 and the end of 2019. 

In that time and space, we won 11 awards, local, regional and global, all from home. 

We now are in a factory space, incubated at LEA Kutla and planning on growing from there,” she shares.

Moreover, partnerships with the likes of Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) and USAID has also made it possible for Maungo Craft founders to network and grow the brand.

The USADF, GIZ and Generation Africa have also played a role in helping us to scale and get equipment, she says.

In terms of marketing, Ms Monthe says they have adopted a multi-pronged approach and leveraged social media platforms to raise awareness about their brand and engage directly with their target market. 

Locally, Maungo Craft products can be purchased from retail outlets such as Pick’n Pay, Sefalana, Fours and Square Mart. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Marvin Motlhabane

Location : GABORONE

Event : Interview

Date : 24 May 2023