The Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM), an organisation representing employers in the country, said Friday it was convinced there is a market for Botswana beef in Singapore.
The Asian country is small with a population of over 5 million people, but it has challenges with meeting the demand for food production and supply.
The observation was made recently when a BOCCIM mission, comprising of Director of Business Development Services (BDS), Zoe Isaacs, and Business Sector Coordinator, Thato Bolokwe, attended an innovation session in Singapore in January 2012 organised by the Singapore Training Development Association (STADA).
During a field trip, the delegation had the opportunity to tour the Association of Food Exporters (AFE), which is one of the largest food storage facilities in Singapore.
“The AFE expressed immense interest in global food importation. Singapore is currently exploring markets that maintain and assure high food quality standards and are inviting countries that can assure capacity & infrastructure to consider exportation to Singapore,” said BOCCIM.
“The country has in the past imported pork from South Africa and they currently import beef from Brazil.”
“BOCCIM believes this is an opportunity for Botswana’s private sector to take action and, as the organisation constantly recommends, pursue business beyond our borders.”
The organization, headed by Maria Machailo-Ellis, added that Singapore’s food shortage could be Botswana’s diversification potential.
It said there are numerous global challenges that can be turned into opportunities, however market access continues be a struggle for many entrepreneurs in Botswana.
“BOCCIM advises its business members who are interested to form associations. By doing so, businesses are enabling themselves to meet the required supply, by ensuring that they have ability in resources, infrastructure and administrative procedures,” it said.
“For example, it would not be feasible for a single poultry producer to tap into Singapore’s market; the supply ability would be inadequate and not cost effective. However, it would be feasible if chicken producers could group as an association and together produce a supply strategy.”
“BOCCIM would then step in as a facilitator for its association members, by inviting the Singapore Training Development Association to Botswana to explore, inspect and conduct market site visits.”
Botswana’s current lucrative market is the European Union (EU) countries, but it is problematic as Europeans want to know the origin of the cattle, which had led to the country being de-listed by importing countries.
The country has been exploring other markets, amongst others Iran, China and Russia.
The objective of the mission to Singapore was to learn what Singapore did to encourage innovation and transform SMME’s. However, the trip resulted in a potential BOCCIM identified as crucial for businesses in Botswana to explore.