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"Sustainable farming operation "Got Produce? Botswana” launches to address food security issues"
"With the recent decision by the African Union that 2014 be the Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa, we are delighted to be at the forefront of bridging the food security gap with Got Produce? in Botswana," explained Got Produce Director, Herbert Chadehumbe.
The local market can look forward to benefiting from local distribution of farm fresh produce and new agricultural job creation. “We have been very successful in hiring youth from the communities where we operate,” added Chadehumbe. Got Produce? was launched to increase sustainable food production in the region. The recent commissioning of the Got Produce? greenhouse at Rasesa is the first of many of its kind, with the next greenhouse slated to open in Maun in the next few months.
The development was made possible by Accite Holdings, a Botswana-based private equity firm that has led the effort to bring the California-based Got Produce? Franchising Inc. to Botswana. “As key components of our sustainable agriculture portfolio, Accite holds the master franchise for Got Produce? and Fodder Solutions hydroponic animal feed for the SADC region,” said Michelle Adelman, Accite Director.
Recent statistics indicate that Botswana imports up to 80 percent of its fresh produce depending on season, resulting in high prices from transportation and challenges with quality and freshness. Got Produce?, following on the world-wide trend of distributed farming and locally grown produce, is deploying greenhouses across Botswana, enabling it to grow high-quality Grade-1 fresh lettuces, tomatoes and other produce close to the consumer.
Got Produce? is set to revolutionize the fresh produce industry in Botswana with greenhouses designed specially for the hot, dry Botswana climate. Hydroponic growing technology allows vegetables to be grown using only two-percent of the water and 100-times less land than irrigated ground-based farming. As a result, Got Produce? is able to contribute positively to the food security challenge. The technology minimises the use of fertilizers and pesticides creating a high-quality, organic product and creates no harmful agricultural run-off.
“The technology is amazing!,” exclaimed Gabriel Rantao, Got Produce Head Grower-Gaborone and former Ministry of Agriculture District Horticulture Officer. “I monitor the key growing statistics on my iPad and share real-time data that allows me to make adjustments to our growing environment in collaboration with our team of scientists in California over the internet.”
As a result, Got Produce? grows fresh produce closer to the consumer, increasing freshness while reducing production and transportation cost. In its first phase, Got Produce? will grow more than 300 tons of Grade-1 vegetables that will include tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, herbs and strawberries for the Botswana domestic market.
“The ability to grow fresh produce right near the consumer makes a big difference in quality and freshness,” says Thabo Motlalenkwe, Got Produce? Head Grower-Maun and also a former Ministry of Agriculture District Horticulture Officer. “Our Maun greenhouse is tailored to support the local market, as well as provide specialty produce to the tourism industry. This will enable our customers in the tourism industry to deliver the 5-star food and beverage experience that their clients demand.”
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