16 Dec 2020
Botswana became a new Southern African citrus supplier this week following a partnership between citrus and mango producer Blydevallei Citrus and global citrus marketers, Afrigold. Several local Botswana parties are seeking to ensure that Botswana has a good exporting group.
This will be the first significant citrus production in Botswana, joining South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe as South African suppliers.
30% of the new venture, known as Selebi Phikwe Citrus (SPC), will be owned by a group of Botswanan investors whilst the rest will be owned by Blydevallei Citrus and Afrigold due to their extensive global citrus and marketing experience.
Owner of Blydevallei, Pieter Scholtz noted, “We chose Selebi Phikwe in Botswana as the preferred location for our expansion strategy. Botswana is a stable democracy in Southern Africa, it ranks highly in ease of doing business and least corruption.”
“The location will allow early access to markets, and climate conditions and environment should permit low pesticide residue fruit. The water supply secured is from a stable source and of good quality,” he continued.
Botswana’s President, Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi was present at the launch of the project and the planting of the first trees on December 12th.
Afrigold’s Marius de Bruyn explained, When completed, we envisage that a total of 1.1m citrus and other fruit trees will have been planted. The total investment in the project over the two phases will be more than P580m (US$53m). When in full production, some 70,000 tonnes of citrus will be produced annually.”
He added, “The bulk of this, approximately 80 per cent, will be exported to Northern Hemisphere markets such as the US, Canada, UK, Europe, Middle East, Asia, China and Japan.”
“Botswana will also no longer have to import citrus fruit and it is especially important for the Selebi Phikwe region.”