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Lobatse Milk Parlour to exceed US$ 10 million in costs

Kitso Dickson
Staff Writer

MilkAfric Chief Executive Phil Matibe (Picture by The Patriot Newspaper)

MilkAfric Chief Executive Phil Matibe (Picture by The Patriot Newspaper)

MilkAfric says overall costs of the Lobatse milk project, Botswana’s first bio security facility due to open business April next year, will surpass US$ 10 million to realise a fully-fledged diary plant. The mega-project, also Southern African Development Community’s first bio security diary has made less progress since a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between MilkAfric, a market focused, community anchored natural foods company and The Lobatse Town Council back in 2013.

MilkAfric boss, Phil Matibe said a delayed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) only passed early this year, hung back advancements. This past week, Matibe told journalists on a media tour that the stage of construction had commenced following successive groundwork. Over US$ 1 million has been has been consumed thus far by the first stage which included a 1375.4 hectors of land assessment. The second stage, he says, the construction, will see the company embark on the development of roads, fences, buildings (including housing for the staff), calving units, and pastures. MilkAfric will equip the plant with a German rotary milking parlour valued at US$ 950 000. “We are also drilling new boreholes to cater for the cows,” says Matibe.

The Zimbabwean international revealed plans to drill atleast 5 more underground reservoirs, motivated by the units of aquifer beneath the plant. Of the 45 boreholes drilled across Lobatse since 1966, MilkAfric chief executive says it has necessitated them to utilise 12 by virtue of the PPP. The plant will kick-start operations with 2 000 cows, US$ 1 500 of running costs for each. From the boreholes, a cow will utilise 100 litres a day, Matibe says. “Any other water to be used will be recycled water,” he adds, noting that its mostly waste water availed for irrigation. The irrigation facility is valued at a relative US$ 500 000, all costs covered by MilkAfric.

The project comes at a time when Botswana’s dairy industry falls painfully short of milk demands, producing close to 5 percent locally, according to official statistics by the Ministry of Agriculture. Matibe believes the deficiency could be adjusted, should atleast three more diary production plants of similar sort open shop.
On the 9th of September Lobatse Town mayor took flight to the United States of America, Florida to appreciate the dairy model to be replicated in Lobatse as well as to meet Alliance Dairies, technical partners by MilkAfric. “If what happens there can be done here, there is no failure,” she told journalists on Thursday, citing the optimum use of technology and research undertook on daily.

MilkAfric and Lobatse Town Council partnership was facilitated by Botswana Investment Trade Centre, the then Botswana Export Development Investment Agency (BEDIA) in January 31 2013. Lobatse Town council accounts for a 10 percent share while 90 percent is assumed by MilkAfric. The plant has 6 board members, 4 members from Lobatse Town Council and 2 members from MilkAfric (PTY) Ltd.

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