Exploring indigenous food (me & my business)
FLYING HIGH: Ame Balosang

Local woman packages phane for the international makert

True Afribites is a local innovative food processing company that aims to explore Botswana’s indigenous foods.

The company Director, Ame Balosang recently won The Creative Business Cup (CBC) Competition in Gaborone.

CBC is a global network for entrepreneurs, investors and organizations from the creative industries.

To win the coveted prize, Balosang had to make an impressive presentation before a panel of judges about her processed flavoured Mophane worm.

She will compete in the international final in Copenhagen, Denmark in June with other entrepreneurs across the world for the world’s best entrepreneur from the creative industries.

Speaking to The Voice Business in an interview, Baloseng said that the idea to flavor and package Mophane worms occurred to her after she realised that the local delicacy was a hit across boarders.

She then started buying Mophane worms from harvesters in Selibe-Phikwe and surrounding areas and packaging it.

The project took six months to take off as she tried different recipes and invited different people to taste.

“It all started in my kitchen with neighbours, relatives and friends tasting different flavours and the feedback was positive. In the end I decided to establish a factory shop in Mmamashia. I just love playing with food and most of my friends are Chefs. I took it to the National Food Control Laboratory and right now I am still waiting to be licensed to start distributing,” she said

One of Balosang’s challenges is that Mophane worm is scarce and seasonal so the suppliers are expensive, which in turn pushes up the price of the end product.

“We sell 20g packet at P15.50 while 40g is P32 and some are saying it is expensive. It is worth it though, considering that the nutritional content compared to beef offers double the protein and triple the iron,” Balosang explained.

Currently she has hired three people at the factory and as soon as they start supplying big shops it will create more job opportunities.

The aim however, is not only to supply big supermarkets but to also find international markets, airlines and the hospitality industry at large, hence the different packaging for retail and hospitality.

International competition, Balosang said, would open doors for her business and provide a platform to market her products.

“ I want access to untapped markets for supplying a diversified value added native organic African food,” Baloseng quipped.