MASERU – Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro has urged local fruits and vegetable farmers to take full advantage of the newly launched Maluti Fresh Produce Market to surmount the marketing challenges they have encountered for many years. The primary objective of the Maluti Fresh Produce Market is to correct the structural deficiencies in the local fresh produce market.
This, as part of the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC)’s mandate, will improve market access to aggregated vegetable production while enabling greater local participation in vegetable production and ultimately improving economic activity.
LNDC is the main parastatal of the Government of Lesotho that is charged with the implementation of the country’s industrial development policies. The market centre will allow farmers to better market their fresh produce and receive prompt payment for their products.
“Farmers will now be in a better position to benefit from their produce through this market centre as they work hand in hand with buyers to establish the type of produce needed in the market. The market centre is open for both big and small producers equally in order to provide an opportunity for the growth of small producers,” Dr Majoro said during the launch of the centre on Wednesday this week.
He said for a long time, Lesotho has been relying on food imports from South Africa, spending millions of maloti in the process. But he said time has come for Lesotho to be able to produce enough for its people and for export purposes. He said local farmers should, however, be smart enough to establish the market first before thinking of producing.
This, he said will enable them to avoid any unnecessary costs as farmers will have a clear picture with regard to the quantity and quality that is needed in the market. “We have to deal with this challenge of producing in large quantities without identification of the market first. The journey of production begins with market identification first,” he said.
The market centre was developed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry through a grant from the International Trade Centre (ITC) under the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) Project Phase II. The ministry later handed the asset over to the LNDC to develop it for private investment and commercial operationalisation.