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Friday 25 April 2014

NFTRC

 

The existence of the National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) dates back to 1984 when it was called Botswana Food Laboratory. Since 1987, NFTRC institution has grown substantially in its research capacity and service to the food industry. In its current status as a company limited by guarantee, NFTRC is governed by a Board of Directors appointed by a minister.

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NFTRC

National Food Technology Research Centre, Botswana

Mandate

  • Promote the development of the food industry on an integrated and collaborative basis;
  • Carry out research, development and commercialisation of food technology and nutritional products;
  • Provide technical assistance to the food and agro industry;
  • Promote and enhance mechanisms for effective food technology information collection and dissemination;
  • Promote job creation;
  • Contribute to import substitution and export promotion;
  • Exploit opportunities in the food sector;
  • Improve quality of food;
  • Ensure food standards; and
  • Promote utilisation of local food materials.

 

Vision and mission
NFTRC aspires to be an international centre of excellence in food science and technology. Its mission is to generate food technologies that enhance economic diversification, food security and quality through sustained end user focused research and development.

 

Core Values 
  • Innovate applied research;
  • Instil the spirit of entrepreneurship;
  • Recognise NFTRC employees as its best assets and;
  • To account for our actions.

 

NFTRC’s premises have purpose built facilities comprising of a pilot plant,

laboratories for Food Science and Technology (Food Microbiology, Food Biotechnology and Food Biochemistry), an Administration block and facilities for catering and conferencing, Extension and Training, Nutrition and Dietetics research, and a library. 

 

It is envisioned to achieve excellence and be a world leader in Food Science and Technology, Research and Development. Its mission is to generate knowledge and technologies to enhance food quality and safety through sustained research and development; communication and extension services; and training and commercialisation of the provision of its services and products.

 

NFTRC’s research includes the generation of knowledge particularly on the macronutrient and micronutrient composition of Botswana traditional foods. The evaluation on foods also includes determination of anti-nutritional factors found in foods, which might affect the bioavailability of specific nutrients.

 

NFTRC also conducts food safety-related testing with respect to physical, biochemical and microbiological contaminants in foods. Food-testing services are also provided to the food manufacturing industry, government departments and individuals engaged in food processing, to ensure supply of safe and wholesome food to the nation.

 

These tests include detection and quantification of: foreign materials, anti-nutritional factors, residues, toxins, microbial pathogens, allergens, and genetically modified sequences (GMOs).

 

Research is also conducted to investigate the various ways of adding value to local agricultural produce through product and manufacturing process development, as Botswana is well endowed with untapped natural food resources and minimally commercialised agricultural produce.

 

NFTRC also provides nutrition services such as screening for definitive testing of various diseases and individualised nutrition counselling as an attempt to help reduce the prevalence of obesity and ultimately non-communicable diseases.

 

In its efforts to contribute to economic diversification, NFTRC assists in the initiation and promotion of the food manufacturing sector through technology transfer. This activity is specifically carried out to assist in stimulating development of the local food processing industry, thus leading to import substitution, job creation and poverty reduction.

 

NFTRC encourages people to process foods such as tomatoes into juice, jam, sauce and dried tomatoes, as well as train people to preserve or diversify usage of any food product for commercialisation. NFTRC also provides nutritional counselling for healthy eating to fight obesity and non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

 

It is worth noting that the NFTRC has a pool of BOTA accredited trainers and uses accredited material for training purposes.

 

Some of the products NFTRC has developed and are ready for commercialisation by potential entrepreneurs include:

  • Canned, pickled, frozen, dried, smoked, and pasteurised long-life products;
  • snack foods; 
  • jams and chutneys;
  • processed meats from beef and donkey, as well as game meat (e.g. phala, kgama).

 

Recipes based on traditional foods made from veldt products have also been developed, such as: mmilo, morula, mopennweeng, moretlwa, mogwana, motsotsojane, sesoswane, leswaswa, mosukudu, mosukujane and lengana.

 

Traditional dishes may be developed, such as: mosutlhane, lesasaoka, mptshaptsha, kabu, legala, bogobe ja lerotse, seswaa, roasted sweet potato, thepe, and rothwe. NFTRC caters to potential entrepreneurs who can set up food processing businesses to reduce food imports, diversify the Botswana economy and create jobs. NFTRC was set up to ensure the growth of the food processing industry because “where production is, is where jobs are”.

 

The Skills Transfer Programme objectives are:

  • To impart basic food processing skills to participants.
  • To stimulate entrepreneurial interest in food/agroprocessing.
  • To trigger demand for NFTRC products and services.