Citizens speaks out on lifted poultry imports ban


Modern chicken farm production of white meat ** Note: Shallow depth of field


The government of Lesotho implemented a ban on the import of chicken from South Africa on October 12, 2023 which put a lot of strain on local food vending businesses. This week the ban was entirely lifted and chicken from South Africa can be imported again. This is what Basotho food vendors had to say about the lift and its conditions.

Mahlape Mohlomi – “We are very grateful for the lift. Yes, people had already been accustomed to not having chicken but we lacked variety, and when we do have it is expensive so in the end we sell it at a loss.”

Matieho Semoli – “I don’t really have much to say, because I only use chicken here for customers. I still have the ‘hard body’ chicken which is in demand. I buy chicken at my secret spots and so far I have not lacked any chicken. I am just happy that people can go back to work and start their businesses again selling and producing chicken.” Other vendors had contrary views to the lift of the ban.

Tohlang Letseka – “I would only celebrate if the lift does not come with conditions of only frozen chicken and eggs. My ‘hard body’ chicken supply has run dry and this is my star dish. Most of my customers come here for that chicken and I have had to raise my prices because the chicken I am buying now is expensive. One other thing is that I believe live chickens are healthier than frozen ones.”

Mosh Khosi – “I just hope that this means that I will be able to get live ‘hard body’ chicken easily again. My business has suffered a lot and I have lost most of my customers since I could not get it anymore. The food I am selling currently is not selling as well as I had anticipated.”

Tlotlisang Mohai – “The absence of chicken has really hurt our businesses here in the market. Chicken was our best seller because it was cheap and most people preferred it to pork and other meats. We didn’t even make the money we usually make during the festive season. When we were able to find the chicken we had to make it a more expensive so that we could at least make a profit from it. We just hope our government has a back-up plan so this does not happen again.”

Bokang Letuka – “The chicken ban not only affected our businesses but also our households. Chicken is a staple protein for most of us and even here it dominates most of our sales. Lifting the ban is going to help us a lot because we are going to lure back customers. Ours was a difficult one because we mostly use baby chicken and those are hard to find and expensive when we do find them. We just hope that this lift means life can go back to normal.”

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