LOCAL bean farmers have secured a reliable market at Taste Food Packers in Maputsoe, Leribe, Metro has learnt.
June 9, 2021
4 min read
Farmers get market niche for beans
The popular Sugar Beans
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The market came into place following the closure of schools last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which triggered national lockdowns.
Before the pandemic, the farmers through their association, the Lesotho National Farmers Union (LENAFU) had inked a deal with the World Food Programme (WFP) to buy beans from local farmers under the schools feeding programme.
“WFP was going to buy the beans directly from the farmers,” LENAFU Programmes Manager, Khotso Lepheana said.
The deal he said, did not see the light of the day because it was blocked by the total lockdown brought to the fore by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid the crisis, Mr Lepheana said they had to find a way out so that the farmers’ produce could get to another market.
So they moved from pillar to post until they successfully secured market from the Maputsoe-based Taste Food Packers.
Mr Lepheana said amongst the three varieties of beans, including sugar beans, pinto and lebete commonly planted by the local farmers, sugar beans were the most welcomed.
So this means the other two varieties are still struggling to get the market.
Luckily, the government went out to buy Basotho’s produce during the national lockdowns.
But the question still remains regarding the prospect of the other two varieties in the market.
Mr Lepheana said in July last year, they called all the bean farmers so that together, they could set the price that they would take to the market.
“We did this so that we become united as we reach out for the market,” he said.
He said they agreed as farmers that they would not sell their beans at less than M17 per kg.
A deal, he said was consequently sealed between LENAFU and Taste Food Packers and now farmers are already enjoying the fortunes of the pact.
He said they have farmers from all over the country who take their produce to their new buyer.
“It is not only our members who benefit from this deal,” Mr Lepheana also said.
In December last year, 172 tonnes of beans were sold to the new buyer by the local farmers.
Mr Lepheana said they are looking forward to seeing how the harvest would be this year, adding that the farmers are still harvesting.
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He urged the farmers to grab this opportunity because they now know where to sell their produce.
To help the farmers do better in agri-business, he said they have a project in which they have prepared training manuals, adding that they mostly target maize and beans production.
LENAFU’s primary role is to link farmers to the buyers of agriculture commodities.
Farmers from Leribe, Maseru, Berea and Mohale’s Hoek are the country’s top bean producers.
Mr Lepheana said they are using every available platform including social media to inform the farmers about the reliable market for their produce.