8 Lesotho firms showcase at AGOA venue



MASERU – Eight companies under the Private Sector Foundation of Lesotho (PSFL) will attend the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Made in Africa Exhibition to be held at NASREC, Johannesburg, South Africa, from November 2 to 4, in order to showcase their products in view of getting potential buyers. This is according to the press release issued by PSFL on October 28.

The eight companies include JMM Beekeeping, Eternity Foods, Organo-pharma, Mobile Farms, Elegant Ventures Cosmetics, The Co Packers Studio, Leribe Craft Centre, and Letscom Holding Trading.

The aim is also to establish new networks for sourcing raw materials. The companies are in the following sectors: handicrafts and tapestry, textiles and apparel, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, and agro-processing.  This will be the first time indigenous Basotho businesses have taken part in AGOA initiatives in this fashion.

In an interview with Public Eye this week, Eternity Foods founder, ’Makhoboso Shale highlighted that Basotho need to grow in business. She said she has 15-year experience in the business but has not seen any light from investors.

Shale said that by attending the exhibition, this will give them the opportunity to go out and meet investors who might be interested in their products, therefore giving them the opportunity to grow.

She indicated that she believes they will come back, attracting investors and therefore having the chance to even supply other companies here in Lesotho. She further mentioned that through the company, she had employed about 30 people in 2021, but the company was depleted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said in January of this year, they resuscitated the company located in Ha Abia, Maseru, adding they now have six employees. “The mere fact that I do not have the opportunity to send my product to the US is simply because I do not have buyers in the US market and have a feeling that now that the forum is in South Africa, I might meet buyers from the US. Some of my products will be seen by the delegates. In view of the above, I am hopeful that I will have customers and that my company will be exporting under AGOA,” she said.

For her part, the founder of Mobile Farms, ’Mabahlakoana Leche, with the company being located in Ha Makhoathi, Maseru and having employed only two people, mentioned that the company was established in 2021 and began producing peanut butter in September this year due to failing in agriculture for quite some time now.

She indicated that they supply peanut butter-branded Kay Goodies peanut butter to about eight shops in Maseru, including Milco and Pasco General Dealer in Ha Abia, to name a few.

She also highlighted that through the AGOA forum, she is expecting to meet with raw material suppliers because she has realised that Basotho are unable to continue further with their businesses due to the high demand for raw materials.

She is expecting to meet investors so that her business grows and her products are bought by huge companies both in Lesotho and in international markets.

The owner of Elegant Ventures Cosmetics which is based in Hlotse, Leribe, Montsuoe Lethoba, said his company will have an opportunity to display and introduce its products, which are made of agave extract, a rare cosmetics line with high medicinal qualities.

He said agave is a kind of aloe that is abundant in Lesotho. Lethoba showed that this will create a market for these prestigious products and may attract prospective investors. He said that with improved market access, more jobs will be created and thus reduce poverty, which is indeed a source of many various health and social problems in the country. He said they have employed 10 Basotho national through the company.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was established in 2000. It is a vehicle through which goods manufactured in selected sub-Saharan African countries including Lesotho can reach US markets duty-free.

This is intended to help such countries graduate from the least developed category, as this opportunity creates jobs for the unemployed masses of the countries. Lesotho as a beneficiary exports mainly textiles and apparel, though there are 6 000 products that can be exported under this agreement.

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