Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) CE0, Thapelo Tsheole, has called on agricultural companies to list on the stock market in order to raise funds. Tsheole was officiating at the Ghanzi Agricultural Show on Friday. In his speech, Tsheole gave examples of agricultural companies in the region listed on their respective stock markets such as Zambeef which is listed on the Lusaka Stock Exchange in Zambia. “On the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, they have the likes of SeedCo which is a prominent supplier in Botswana. In Kenya on the Nairobi Stock Exchange, they have the likes of FTN Cocoa, Okomu & Presco and a few others as they are more renowned for production of tea,” he said. With these examples, Tsheole said the Stock Exchange will increasingly become an important player in supporting the Agricultural sector here in Botswana; more especially that agriculture is capital intensive. “Beyond direct financing, we also want to give investors an exposure to agriculture without directly owning the physical cattle or crops,” he said. Tsheole said the BSE is currently exploring ways in which it can allow farmers to buy cattle on the Stock Exchange the same way they can currently buy Gold or Platinum or big South African names on the BSE. “We are also exploring ways to add value to the grains market by being a central source of transparent pricing that farmers can also use to lock in or hedge the prices of their harvest way before they can even plant the crops.”
With talks of Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) gaining pace, Tsheole said as such BMC has become their prime target to attract it to list on the BSE with the hope that it can take advantage of the many benefits of listing to turn around its business. This year’s show was held under the theme, “Sustainable economic diversification beyond 50 years through green technology”. Despite seeing its contribution to the economy drop drastically over the years, from 31.7 percent in 1965 to just 2.2 in 2015, Tsheole said the sector still remains important to the economy. “Agriculture is what we know best as Batswana and have been practicing for many decades. Despite the hardships of low levels of rainfall and animal related diseases, there is a great opportunity to create significant value in this sector through adoption of new agriculture related technologies as well as beneficiation along the industry value chain in areas such as leather tanneries such currently support the automotive industries abroad,” he said.