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Hi everyone, I am Kagiso Gabafediwe, a BUAN graduate holding a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree which I acquired in 2018. After completing my studies, my skills improved, my network broadened and I gained a better understanding of business acumen after taking part in the BUAN-LEA Agriprenuer programme, which is designed to cultivate agricultural entrepreneurship in BUAN graduates. I got to be part of the programme in 2019 with my partner Thatayaone Keatlholetswe who shortly left the project after a few months. We got selected to do the Pig feedlotting project housed at the BUAN piggery site. At the start of this project we got 38 weaners and had a single mortality. It takes 5 months for a pig to reach a porker stage of about 60kg, 7 months to be a baconer of around 80 kg and lastly 10 months to be a sausage of over 100kg. It takes a lot of patience, dedication and hard work to run a piggery. I bathe them thrice a week and feed them daily. They are like my babies, and I would like to give them names, the only problem is they all look alike and I can’t tell them apart, haha!! I sell both breeding stock, carcasses and packaged meat. Since joining this programme, I have bought and improved weaners from farmers around Gaborone. I supply butcheries and individuals with quality premium pork and I do not intend to stop anytime soon. Currently I'm housing 39 porkers which will be ready for the market at the end of June and beyond. I operate under the business name Bantaro Porkers, which I registered with CIPA in 2019. Agripreneur has positively sparked my passion in piggery production and introduced me to a community of passionate farmers and a dedicated young individual by the name of Bryan Maeze who assist me from time to time with my project and at the same time challenges me to better myself. The benefits of pork industry, the constant need to sensitize and feed the nation fuels my passion. There is no success without challenges! Sometimes due to inferior genetics, diseases and being a rant, pigs may take longer to mature which brings in challenges of feeding as the feeds are expensive. The other challenges that I encounter include lack of proper husbandry by farmers who supply me with weaners; overpricing of weaners; poor record keeping which is vital for feedlotting; the recent pandemic outbreak which halted my operations and most importantly the market setting prices have forced us the producers to sell at break even. I have personally experienced minimum disease outbreaks since I became a pork producer. Despite the challenges and shortcomings I was able to manoeuvre through and develop as an Agripreneur. BUAN has done a lot in producing highly skilled and qualified Agripreneurs like me and I confidently applaud the University. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage aspiring Agripreneurs, small scale farmers and the pig industry at large to strive for excellence and aim beyond limitations. If anyone has a gap in knowledge and skills in agriculture and natural resources, do not despair, BUAN through the CICE offers such short courses to elevate your success!
BEST HERBS BY ONIAS FARMS Esinah Onias, a BUAN 2017 Graduate and top achiever of Bsc in Soil and Water Conservation Engineering is the Founder of Onias Farms (Pty) Ltd. The company was founded in February 2018 as a back yard garden and the whole idea behind the project was to help address the shortage of agri produce and employment in Botswana. During the development of the farm/backyard garden, she discovered that people were becoming cautious of their health and were also wery of the hazardousness of consuming chemically produced vegetables, hence this pushed her into the strict organic herb and vegetable production. Esinahs is currently producing spinach, salad mix, a variety of herbs like wild rocket, parsley, oregano, fennel, dill, thyme, rosemary, chamomile, chives, coriander, mint, catnip mint and sage. All this produce is harvested, cleaned, packaged and supplied to individuals, restaurants and supermarkets. "The main challenges experienced by Onias Farms is under supplying due to shortage of land", narrated Esina. In mid 2018, the demand for produce increased thus the need for more land. She approached BUAN for assistance and was enrolled into the BUAN Agripreneur Program which took her thorough mentorship and business development. Onias started production in June 2019. She managed to increase production and met the then market demand. The demand for herbs is still very high countrywide and the company wishes to reach the supply demand target one day. Ms Esina Onias's words to aspiring Agriprenuers was, "Agri-business demands a lot of patience, passion and love. Give your plants love and attention and they will always love you back and more❤️. Never give up on your dream and/or calling no matter how hard the going gets.Work hard because we will always live off Agriculture."
The Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) and the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), signed a Memorandum of Understanding as a declaration of their commitment to cooperate in the field of education and entrepreneurship. The two organisations have been working closely together prior to the signing of this particular MOU. By engaging in this MOU, it means that both organisations’ stand will be to broaden the scope of their activities in pursuit of enhancing curricular for training in agriculture and natural resources, as well as in entrepreneurship development which will be accomplished through promoting incubators and improving training of BUAN graduates. Dr Jasper Rees, the Vice Chancellor of BUAN said that, Botswana needs to open up for business orientated training, which will create more opportunities for young people, and this MOU will provide access for entrepreneurship opportunities especially in horticulture and leather technology. He said that there is a need to invest in extensive research because one may have a Doctorate in a particular discipline but that does not make him an expect in technology as it constantly changes. In addition to Dr Rees’ thought on investing in extensive research, Dr Recious Moatshe, Chief Executive Officer of LEA said that LEA has adopted a new business model which is designed to be flexible such that it can cope with the changes that are imminent in the business sectors, hence having identified BUAN as a strategic partner. The collaboration will focus on Skills development in the agriculture and natural resources sectors; capacity building and provision of targeted interventions to develop the SMME sector; provision of business advisory, mentorship and training needed to capacitate BUAN students and graduates; research and development as well as provision of facilities to benefit both LEA and BUAN business objectives. Following the signing of this MOU, LEA and BUAN’s technical Teams will implement all initiatives they have signed up for and ensure an impactful outcome. The agreement assumes the following conditions for collaboration: • Support and advice LEA on curriculum development and training in areas of agriculture and natural resources. • Provision of technical support to LEA assisted enterprises, in order to close identified technical gaps. • Provision of facilities for LEA assisted enterprises wherever feasible. • Referrals of graduating students to LEA for enrolment in entrepreneurship programs. While LEA assumes the following responsibilities; • Provide capacity building in basic & advanced business interventions to the programme beneficiaries. • Provision of facilities for BUAN students and graduates where required. • Provide business advisory, mentoring and training needed to capacitate BUAN students and graduates.
My name is Joel Ntshupang, a proud graduate of BUAN who completed his BSc Soil and Water Conservation Engineering in 2018. Upon completion of my studies I started my vegetable production business in a backyard garden but through the help of BUAN, I managed to expand and improve my business under the Agriprenuer programme. I was selected to enrol in the programme in 2019 after outcompeting other candidates in screening tests which included entrepreneurial development training, presentations and proposals. Agripreneur has significantly developed my passion in vegetable production and introduced me to other very passionate entrepreneurs like Thabo Pheto and Aubrey Makwatse who continually contribute immensely to the success of the project. Agriprenuer programme is an initiative which was formed through partnership between BUAN and LEA which aims at cultivating the agricultural entrepreneurship in BUAN graduates. The programme runs for 12months and includes training of the participants through short courses, mentorship and provision of land as well as highly subsidised business activity necessities. Under the programme I managed to produce a number of products including mustard spinach, peppers, butternuts and seedlings. I have managed to supply various customers ranging from the general public to large supermarkets and just on the 28th May 2020, the project delivered 180 1kg bags of tomatoes to Spar. The business in currently growing cabbage, tomato and leafy vegetables. BUAN has done a lot in producing other highly skilled and qualified young farmers like me and for that I confidently applaud the University for such initiatives and hope that other institutions could adopt such models. I urge all the youth who have started small agricultural businesses to keep on striving through all the challenges they go through and never to consider quitting as an option since food production is essential and could be a sustainable business. Those who have the desire to start but have not started yet, there is no better time to start than now!!!
Botswana university of Agriculture and Natural Resources has engaged five of its graduates in a horticulture incubation project which started in January 2020. The Business Development unit of the University offers mentorship in a form of technical advice, sales and marketing of their produce. The graduates use basic crop production technologies that utilizes less land to produce more yields of good quality produce as well as using less water through the drip irrigation system. It is through this project that our graduates are demonstrating that a profitable or high performance farming is achievable only if proper technologies are put into practice. Current crops planted are cabbage, tomatoes, green peppers and green mealies in a total two hectares. As at the 15th May 2020, the following harvests were made: Cabbage - 3760 kg; Tomatoes - 2443 kg; Green Peppers – 713. These produce have been sold to retailers such as Spar, Square Mart, Saverite, BDF and to individuals from the BUAN Farm Shop. It is anticipated that Green Mealies will be harvested from the 25th May 2020. The University is already in discussions with relevant stakeholders to develop value chain that will support food production in Botswana for sustainable food security.
BUAN'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE COVID 19 RELIEF FUND BUAN Farm keeps different animal species for student practicals. These include beef cattle, dairy cattle, sanan goats, tswana goats, pigs, chickens to name but a few. The University has around 60 chickens for egg production, that are fed using scientifically proven methods that result in maximizing the egg output. The eggs are generally sold to the public on daily basis to cover the cost of maintaining the chickens, including their medications and feed. After emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University took a decision to donate eggs and chickens to the COVID-19 Relief Fund through the Gaborone District Commissioners Office, which is the coordinating office for donations. The University initially donated 200 dozen eggs, followed later by 100 chickens, to the Fund and this will continue on bi-monthly basis for a period to be determined in future by progression of the COVID-19 epidemic.