Botswana: a new economy

The Company

On Monday we started off the day by visiting Langdon Organics, a start up in the agricultural space founded by Michelle Adelman. L.O. specializes in growing organic and hydroponic vegetables in Botswana. This is significantly challenging because Botswana has very few arable land, high temperatures and limited rain fall. However, by building a state of the art greenhouse and by pioneering hydroponics and drip irrigation in Botswana. Through these methods L.O. is able to grow healthier vegetables while using only 2% of the water that traditional agriculture would require.

Michelle A. sharing her story on how she decided to move to Bostwana and found her startup

The Challenges

Even though youth unemployment in Botswana is around 40%, Laura mentioned that finding the right people and motivating her employees were her key challenges. She has tried several different incentives (e.g. bonuses, extra days off, vacations, etc.) and none have worked so far. According to Laura, one of the key problems is that most of the recent university graduates are well prepared for a real-life experience and they have a feeling of “entitlement”. To be honest, it seemed as she was tired of running this business and of dealing with the local labor force.

Overall

Langdon Organics is one of the few high quality fresh produce producers in Botswana. What Laura and her team have done is amazing. They have manage to leverage cutting edge technologies and world class best practices into creating a reliable source of high quality fresh produce for Langdon Organic’s customers. However, she still has to find a more engaging way to motivate her employees. Maybe bringing on more local partners would motivate employees further.

Langdon Organic’s hydroponic farm

Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation

“when we asked for independence, people thought we were either very brave or very foolish”

Sir Ketumile Masire

Panel at the US embassy

Unfortunately Mr. Masire was not able to join us at the U.S. ambassadors’ residence. Howvere, it was interesting to hear his description from a wide varied array of people (the ambassador, junior personnel at the embassy, Laura, his daughters, etc). It was very interesting to hear how his vision and his leadership have actually shaped this young nation. His strong believe in the importance of education, empowering the young and creating a better future for everyone in Botswana.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *