BOTSWANA – Qhaa Qhing Conservation Trust, the operator of Zutshwa Salt project in Botswana, has received funding that will enable the expansion of the project and increase the production of salt by threefold.

The manager of the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) in Hukuntsi, Mr. Golebaone Molefe, said the current 44 salt ponds are not producing enough profit to sustain the business.

He said LEA assisted the trust to compile a business plan last year aimed at making the project profitable and sent the plan to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Southern Africa Development Commission (SADC), and Rural Development Council.

The project has now received an investment of P1.8 million from UNDP, P2 million from RDC, and SADC assisted the project with P2.2 million.

Mr. Molefe pointed out: “The funds would be used for expansion of Zutshwa Salt production. The tests have indicated that it is 99.9 percent pure salt. “

“Our intention is to expand production so that we can be able to meet market demand in our country. After expansion, we foresee an increase in our employment rate. Our output will also triple.”

The expansion project is projected to start by August with a minimum of four boreholes. After that, the project will increase the ponds from the current 44 by building another 10 bigger ponds. 

“Our output will triple, and we will be able to meet the market demand and export. We are working on acquiring certificates of origin to be ready for export,” Mr. Molefe stated.

With the expansion, the salt project is also expected to employ more than 45 people on a permanent basis.

Zutshwa Salt supplied all Botswana Agriculture Marketing Board facilities in the southern part of Botswana with salt, together with Maun.

LEA started working with the trust in 2015 by developing a business plan that led to P1.5 million in funding from the constituency development fund, which enabled them to increase salt ponds from 16 to 44.

According to Mr. Molefe, Zutshwa’s salt is safe for consumption by people and livestock and cheaper compared to others in the market, retailing at P54.50 for 50kg and 65 kg lick blocks costing P70.

The low cost of salt is attributed to the simple method of harvesting salty water into ponds and allowing it to crystallize before adding iodine to it, as stated by Zutshwa Salt plant supervisor, Mr Pobiso Kgamatona.

He, however, said the main challenge the company is facing is a constant breakdown of equipment due to the corrosive effect of salt.

For all the latest food industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.