The National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) is planning a merger with the Department of Agricultural Research (DAR) and National Veterinary Laboratory to form a new agricultural research and development institute. The merger of these three entities is set to bring together the functions of these three organisations to improve service delivery within the agricultural sector.
Thatayaone Kepaletswe of the NFTRC confirmed this development in a brief interview with The Telegraph. NFTRC was first established as a small project in 1984, then called Botswana Food Laboratory (BFL). BFL then evolved into the Food Technology Research Services (FTRS) in 1987, funded by the then Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI), but managed by Botswana Technology Centre (BOTEC). Following a comprehensive evaluation of FTRS in 1997, FTRS gained autonomy and was transformed into an independent company limited by guarantee. The company then adopted a new name, National Food Technology Research Centre. It has a board of twelve Directors appointed by the Minister of Agriculture.
The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Micus Chimbombi said that the government has a vision to take the agricultural sector to greater heights and they could achieve that by finding out solutions to the main problems which the agricultural sector is currently facing.
“As for the merger between National Food Technology Research Centre, Department of Agricultural Research (DAR) and National Veterinary Laboratory to form a new agricultural research and development institute, we will inform the public in due course,” he said.
In line with the theme of the National Development Plan 10 (NDP10) which is Accelerating Achievement of Vision 2016 through NDP 10. The agricultural sector has been identified as one of the areas that have a great potential to diversify the economy and create employment, especially in rural areas. The Ministry is currently implementing several projects and initiatives which are intended to commercialise and diversify the sector.