This was said by SEZA Acting Director of Policy & Planning Jayson Sechele during a consultative meeting with farmers and agro-businesses in the Lobatse area last week.
Sechele revealed that the Lobatse SEZ has been zoned in as a meat and leather city with key economic activities being processing and beneficiation of meat and leather products. However, said Sechele, SEZA is looking at closing apparent loopholes in the BMC operation by pushing for processing and further beneficiation of meat and meat products.
BMC harvests 150,050 animal hides every year, with a potential value of P8.6 million. The hides were previously used to process glue, but the project was aborted after authorities raised concerns about proper disposal of chemicals that were used during the process. As a result, BMC simply salts the hides and exports them to South Africa. Through the Lobatse leather park, SEZA hopes to further beneficiation of Botswana’s cattle industry by processing all the hides into finished leather for use in the local manufacturing industry.
BMC also produces 2, 565 tons of offal with a potential value of P38.4 million. According to Brian Dioka – Chief Strategy Officer at BMC – there is an opportunity to export the product to the Middle East, where it is a delicacy that is sold at premium price.
“Additionally, BMC has partnered with a local company to process and can serobe for sale to a more affluent market in Botswana,” said Dioka.
Commenting on the issue, Sechele said the Lobatse SEZ has great potential to generate export revenue and facilitate value addition in the agriculture sector.
“With the coming in of skilled investors, there will be spill-over benefits like industrialisation, skills transfer, innovation and infrastructure development. I am confident that BMC will be a key player in the success of the Lobatse SEZ,” said Sechele.
SEZA is currently conducting the master planning of the Lobatse SEZ, which is expected to be completed by July this year.