Selebatso’s Moremi Red Baking Flour made from 100% beans

Boitumelo Maswabi

Some of the most successful humans in modern history either dropped out of school or paused their academic pursuits to focus on inventing and developing, a daring detour that is summed up by American business magnate and philanthropist, John D. Rockefeller’s famous words: “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great”.

This week, Voice Woman breaks with tradition to shine a spotlight on a dynamic and driven young man, co-owner of The Mores Company, Arthur Selebatso.

The Mogapi-born entrepreneur leveraged his agricultural family and engineering background, as well as a solid network of like-minded friends to develop an exciting product, the Moremi Red Baking Flour, made from 100% beans.

- Advertisement -

The versatile, gluten-free flour is a sure hit with Keto Diet or Banting lifestyle lovers, especially health-conscious women like Yours Truly.

While a General Engineering student at the University of Botswana (UB) in 2018, the innovative youngster participated in a Citizen Economic Development Agency (CEDA) competition with a friend.

“My project was a liquid bio-methane plant, we got to top 5. That sparked a series of researches on resource-based industries that could operate locally and generate P3 billion towards the country’s GDP. It was a time of insane ambition. I did so much research and development outside my course, putting my studies on hold to focus on fundraising and collaborations. The idea is to partner with the UB innovation centre, and Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources for research, in time I might get an honorary degree. Behind the scenes of this business is some important work to feed nations and grow the economy, the money chase has evolved, in a sense,” he explains.

Indeed, a mindset shift, as Moremi Red Cake Flour was only meant to be pasta initially, “Milibergisch Pasta!

I had noticed raw beans had the hardness of raw pasta; when boiled, they had the texture of pasta.

The only difference is it takes 2 hours to traditionally prepare a bean dish.

- Advertisement -

In that instant, my material sciences instincts kicked in and I got to consulting my chef and analytical chemist at the UB.

We tested the consistency of all the available beans in the market, the nutritional value and toxicity.

The best 3 ended up at the National Agricultural Research and Development Institute (NARDI) for further laboratory tests, and they all passed.

Finding machinery was a challenge; they were either pricey or needed modification.

That led to meeting and working with Darné Kingeeson, who runs ‘Darné’s Love At First Bite’.

- Advertisement -

I engaged her to do our marketing for some time as she’s skilled in gluten-free products, and we produced Milkah Pastry: cake, loaf, cookies, muffins, cupcakes, etc,” he says.

And just how has the reception been? “Those who’ve tasted the product love it; they’ve complimented its texture, moisture and taste.

Some of my customers have made flat breads with Moremi Red Cake Flour.

It has a life of its own, and joins the Keto diet or Banting lifestyle spaces.

Getting to retail stores and potentially contracting with public procurement and supplies is taking time.

Fortunately, we have sales that cover the cost of meeting these requirements; every ‘Authority’ charges 4 figures without hesitation,” he says, and adds: “There are 2 companies producing flour in the country, with over a Billion Pula in annual revenue, there’s not much data on the bakery industry but I’m assuming it’s more than P10 billion; from the street vendors to large bakeries.

It is mind-blowing how a country historically and politically known for diamonds has these unrecognised billion Pula industries directly impacting the lives of every family and class.

- Advertisement -

A good friend from Khartoum, Sudan said to me, ‘It is good to marry a bread maker, his house never lacks bread.’

Producing flour from beans gives me an edge in the sense that I can export an entire industry within an industry.”

Selebatso values the power of collaborations.

- Advertisement -

“I build around family and friends. To build a company like Mores meant that experts from different fields and disciplines could be and needed to be employed. I’ve worked with 20-25 individuals over the past 3 years, who’ve helped so much with product development and certain production models. The challenge I’m currently facing is scaling productions, that’s tough as steel. In time, I’ll release research comparing the nutrient content in human blood and bean flour. The Mores company has a wide range of products and employs different kinds of machinery and skills. Considering scalability and trade agreements, it’s hard to say, but 100 – 5 000 in the next 5 to 10 years. Agriculture and logistics are the breaking ground for such high numbers,” he asserts.

Looking to the future, Selebatso is hard at work to soon release Khartoum Sky Premix and expand on Milkah Pastry.

The Mores Company’s flagship product, the all-purpose Moremi Red Baking flour, is available by order in Gabz (@mores on Instagram and Facebook, and 77 791 964).

Leave a comment