- New UHT plant to boost research and development
The newly acquired Ultra High Temperature (UHT) processing plant at the National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) is expected to enable the organisation to develop and test commercial viability of liquid products.
The pasteurisation and sterilisation plant that was this week commissioned by Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Oreeditse Molebatsi, is intended to enhance NFTRC’s technical capabilities in developing and commercial testing of shelf-stable liquid and semi-liquid products such as milk, fruit and vegetable juice, yoghurt and other related products. Dr Charity Kerapeletswe-Kruger, the Managing Director at NFTRC says the new plant will stimulate innovation and transform indigenous products from being simple kitchen recipes to commercial products.
When welcoming guests at the commissioning ceremony at the NFTRC centre in Kanye on Tuesday, Kruger said following a countrywide survey of indigenous products, her organisation intended to select those with commercial potential for development into industrial products. She said the UHT plant would play a critical role in the exercise.
“It is envisaged to enable NFTRC contribute significantly to the achievement of the objectives of the Economic diversification Drive by facilitating agro-processing through provision of new food products and processes in the form of enterprise packages,” she said.
The NFTRC boss said the UHT plant would also be available for use by tertiary institutions such as the Botswana College of Agriculture for purposes of human development. “We offer attachment opportunities to a good number of students receiving their undergraduate training I food science and technology at BCA and institutions in South Africa and Malaysia.”
For his part, Minister Molebatsi announced that his ministry was in the process of merging the operations of NFTRC with those of the Department of Agricultural Research and the National Veterinary Laboratory (NVL). “The activities of the three entities are complementary, and t is our belief that merging them will improve efficiencies in the food value chain in Botswana,” he said.