Leading shareholder in Arcee (Pty) Ltd Ramachandran Ottapathu has distanced the company from any involvement in the Selibe-Phikwe Citrus Project.
Blydevally Citrus launched the Phikwe project late last year and when fully operational it is expected to send its produce to Europe, Middle East and South East Asia.
Ottapathu said he is involved personally in the project together with his family. “The company Blydevally farm is the promoter of the project. They have been supplying us with citrus for many years and I invited them to visit Gaborone to look at my personal farm to plant citrus trees and on their research they found that the Phikwe area was the best for citrus. Then I introduced them to SPEDU and that’s how they started,” Ottapathu said.
A number of things attracted Ottapathu to partner with Blydevally but what stood out for him was that: “They are the biggest exporters of oranges in the Southern hemisphere and their market penetration and professionalism attracted me”. His business partners are Dr Pieter Scholtz and Marius De Bruyn.
He poured cold water on claims that President Mokgweetsi Masisi through Arcee is also involved in the project. “One should simply go to CIPA and see the directors of the company; there is no Arcee. I am there on my personal capacity,” he declared.
Last week Press Secretary to the President Batlhalefi Leagajang vehemently denied President Masisi’s involvement in the Phikwe Citrus project.