The National University of Lesotho (NUL) and Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) are doing feasibility studies for a first locally inspired Industrial Park in the Roma Valley. Phase one of NUL-LNDC industrial park will host at least 13 factories to make products conceived and developed by NUL, potentially unleashing thousands of jobs for the future.
“This is an initiative aimed at advancing efforts towards diversification of both products and markets and building the requisite skills to support the industry,” said Mrs ‘Mamoiloa Raphuthing, who is the Manager of Planning and Research Division at the LNDC.
“LNDC has recognized NUL’s efforts in product development through the NUL Innovation Hub and found it critical to partner with it to advance development of indigenous products,” she said. “This is a noble initiative which has adopted its approach from that of the Silicon Valley in the United States of America.”
LNDC is funding the feasibility studies.
(Support NUL INNOVATION FUND, www.nulif.org.ls.)
Listen to this one from Professor Nqosa Mahao, the NUL Vice Chancellor whose leadership at innovation is redefining the school in the Roma Valley, “there is a generation that wants to liberate itself and is not looking for someone to liberate it,” he said, referring to the many brains behind the proposed industrial park.
The businesses to dwell in the park are varied, inspired and inspiring. They are all weaved into two themes, “knowledge based” and “mass production.”
First we have Precise Technical Solutions, a business which will focus on manufacturing of solar energy products. Spearheaded by Mr Anadola Ts’iu, it will produce smart solar water heaters amongst others. You will remember, one of his brilliant solar products won a first prize at an international competition in Astana, Khazakhstan.
“Mohalalitoe will be a natural soap that will provide a unique care for your skin,” said Professor Mosotho George who is leading Mohalalitoe Natural Soaps company. It is a soap that was developed in the NUL laboratories for over three years to create unmatched extravagance in the area of soap.
Not known to many, NUL has been in the business of making clothes for some time through its Consumer Science Department. “The business shall concentrate on staple products such as laboratory coats, overalls, chef’s coats, school and corporate uniforms, pants, shirts, hoodies, body-con dresses, etc, at a mass scale,” said Mrs Papali Maqalika, the business leader.
It is the beginning of that time, when the locals claim a deserved portion in the mighty local textile industry.
And never forget Sebabatso yogurt in the mix by Mr Moeketsi Ntakatsane. Well, Sebabatso brand now goes beyond the famous yogurt. It now includes fresh and sour milk. Having been incubated successfully for more than a year, it is time to think about mass production of Basotho’s darling, Sebabatso.
And how about Phula Poultry Products, led by Dr George Adoko? At its peak, it will be producing 40,000 chickens a month. It aims to cover the whole value chain from production of fertilized eggs to one day old chicks to chicken.
Now, this one, led by Mr Seforo Mohlalisi and Mr Thabo Koetje, will surely turn the rest of the Roma Valley into a “Silicon Valley.” “We will produce a variety of electronic products, the famous Pius XII Egg Incubator, Electric Dehydrators, Smart Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems, Fleet Management and Vehicle Tracking, and Home Automation Systems.”
Did you know anything about Bohlale Biscuits? They are made from sorghum and they include all kinds of baked sorghum products. “It is time we take the popular biscuits to mass production,” said Dr Pulane Nkhabutlane who is leading the incubation of Bohlale biscuits.
Hold on, there is another sorghum company by Dr Nkhabutlane and this one will produce sorghum muesli and lepoopoo powder. Indeed, the whole of the Roma Valley will soon be so sorghumy!
And Mr Kebitsamang Mothibe will produce a plenty of highly nutritious weaning food products for children. As a bonus, they will give you a lot of healthy snacks, including dried fruit.
Were you aware that you could make medicine out of mushroom? Well that is what Mr Malota Seleke and his team are going to do, “we will produce mushroom both as food and tea and as medicine packaged in capsules.” Indeed, the company, Mushroom Biotech, will take mushrooms production to unprecedented levels in Lesotho.
But how do you deal with so much waste from all this? Don’t worry, Dr Sissay Mekbib will lead a company that will turn all the bio-waste into biogas and agricultural manure thereafter.
Yes, Mr Setlhare Jane’s waste paper based furniture will be part of the show. After years of developing an extremely hard material at the NUL based on waste paper, a company called C-Mat Products is already reinventing and redefining furniture as you know it.
Just when you thought you can’t have more than this, then you learn about this one.
This time, we introduce Mafikeng Stones. “The company will churn out a repertoire of artificial stones for cladding, building and paving that will beat the best in colour, texture, quality and variety,” says Mr Lesia Matlali who is leading the project.
The park will be in the vicinity of the university, and it will constantly change and be changed by the university, following the footsteps of the Stanford and the Silicon Valley, even at a long shot.
(Support NUL INNOVATION FUND, www.nulif.org.ls.)