The resuscitation of the Botswana Ostrich Farmers Association (BOFA) has led to the revival of small businesses which trade in ostrich by products.
In an interview with The Telegraph on the sidelines of the BOFA gala dinner held at Phakalane Golf Estate the past Friday, MG’s Artistic Creations owner, Mogomotsi Tumelo, said since his company’s inception in 2009, he did not know much about BOFA, let alone its existance. However, sometime this year when he heard of the association and that they would be hosting a gala dinner at Phakalane Golf Estate, he made it his resolve that he would attend the event.
“When I came here and listened to the speakers, i was very relieved because I could see light at the end of the tunnel. I had almost given up on my business until recently when I heard that the ostrich industry has a body like association which can revive it small businesses like mine. For years I was trying other avenues of making money just because I asked myself where I would get supplies should I keep making these decors. Now that even a senior government official attended this event and assured all that there is hope in the industry, I am motivated to continue working,” said the evidently excited Tumelo.
He said government’s support of the industry will lead to continuous supply of raw materials for his business. “Originally I traded on feathers and eggshells until I discovered that I could also add pieces of wood to produce these trophies and kettles. I am impressed by the revival of BOFA because some of the challenges I faced will hopefully be dealt with. People who buy my products are mostly foreigners. I am a licensed Trophy Dealer, but when I sell these products to these foreign customers’ authorities at airports, they demand that they produce permits for exporting wildlife products or leave them,” he said sadly.
He said he will inform BOFA to find out if they can at least organise places at the airports and borders where foreign customers can pay a certain amount of money and get the permits; instead of buying products from him only to return to them later because they cannot access permits to export the products. He added that his research on internet has shown him that he undercharges. The products he sells at around P250-P375 are worth around US$145 there in the internet.