More than oranges

Kabelo Dipholo

President Mokgweetsi Masisi led the auspicious first harvest of the Selebi Phikwe Citrus Project (SPC) on Wednesday morning, marking a significant milestone since its launch on December 11, 2020.

Spanning an impressive 1500 hectares, this ambitious venture, backed by an investment of P300 million, promises more than just citrus yields.

Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Molebatsi Molebatsi, highlighted the extensive value chain opportunities arising from the project, which could catalyze the establishment of other multimillion-dollar industries.

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Addressing the media ahead of the First Harvest and the #PushaBW Selebi Phikwe Expo, Molebatsi underscored the pressing need for self-sufficiency in light of the escalating import bill for fertilizers over the past two years. “SPC alone has expended in excess of P11 million to date,” Molebatsi revealed, emphasizing the urgency for local entrepreneurs to seize opportunities within the fertilizer industry.

Moreover, with Botash’s ‘Double in Five’ business strategy unveiling plans to produce premium fertilizer from Sulphate of Potash (SoP), Selebi Phikwe emerges as the prime location for the establishment of such a facility, contributing to the town’s diversification efforts.

SoP, renowned for its high potassium content, is instrumental in fostering robust flower and fruit development while fortifying plants against pests, diseases, and adverse weather conditions.

Expanding on the project’s potential, Molebatsi highlighted studies conducted on fly ash from Morupule as a soil amendment for enhanced agricultural productivity in Central Botswana.

Furthermore, SPC’s substantial expenditure on agro-chemicals, exceeding P16 million in three years, underscores the burgeoning opportunities for local production and research partnerships in this sector.

Beyond fertilizers and agro-chemicals, the SPC initiative paves the way for agro-processing ventures, including juice and jam production, dried fruit processing, and even gin distillation.

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Additionally, opportunities abound in beekeeping, essential for pollination and honey production, thereby fostering sustainable agricultural practices.

SPC stands as a testament to collaborative efforts, with key stakeholders including BITC, SEZA, SPEDU, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Entrepreneurship, NARDI, Selebi Phikwe Town Council, and the Mmadinare Multi-Purpose Cooperative.

Notably, BITC’s proactive investment drive, which attracted investors from South Africa, has resulted in the creation of over 200 jobs, with the potential to employ close to 1500 individuals at full capacity, both on a permanent and seasonal basis.


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