Feb. 23, 2024


2 min read

M200 million more for agric sector

M200 million more for agric sector

Story highlights

    The increased budget allocation aims to support the expansion of contract farming
    Finance Minister describes the immense potential of agriculture as the backbone of Lesotho's economy

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THE agriculture sector is set to receive a significant boost with an allocation of M1.3 billion from the 2024–2025 fiscal budget, marking a notable increase from the M1.1 billion allocated in the previous fiscal year.

Minister Thabo Mofosi, responsible for agriculture, food security, and nutrition, announced this development during the post-budget gala dinner held this week.

Emphasising the pivotal role of agriculture in Lesotho's economy, he highlighted the necessity of such a substantial budget allocation.

Acknowledging the challenges faced in the utilisation of the M1.1 billion allocated in the 2023–24 fiscal period, Mofosi attributed the delays to fund releases from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.

These delays hindered the timely procurement of fertilisers, inputs, and agricultural equipment, impacting the ministry's objectives.

Expressing the need for an expedited procurement system, Mofosi said delays in fund release hinder the ministry's progress. He outlined proactive measures, such as ordering fertilisers earlier than usual and expanding storage facilities in Ha Foso for agricultural inputs, to address these challenges.

The increased budget allocation aims to support the expansion of contract farming, fostering better relationships between farmers and buyers.

Mofosi highlighted the goal of ensuring that producers have access to markets without difficulty, thereby preventing unnecessary losses.

To enhance market understanding among farmers, the minister emphasised the importance of contract farming, aiming to reduce the percentage of farmers producing without a defined market.

The focus on organising workshops in the upcoming financial year underscores the ministry's commitment to facilitating better communication and cooperation between producers and buyers.

Looking ahead, the 2024–2025 budget prioritises the comprehensive transformation of agriculture, addressing hunger, improving food security, and promoting sustainable agriculture.

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In the Budget Speech on Wednesday, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Dr. Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane described the immense potential of agriculture as the backbone of Lesotho's economy.

She outlined a comprehensive agriculture transformation support programme, incorporating measures such as enhancing extension services support, improving agricultural data collection, facilitating access to affordable finance, and enhancing irrigation infrastructure, storage, and logistics.

Additionally, MCA Lesotho plans to invest $118 million (M2.301 billion) over five years in agriculture, specifically targeting commercial horticulture in irrigation schemes located in Leribe and Mohale's Hoek.

This initiative aims to increase horticulture production, create jobs, provide business opportunities, and reduce dependence on imports by forming strategic partnerships with local smallholder farmers and landowners.

As Lesotho moves forward, the commitment to agricultural development remains steadfast, with initiatives designed to ensure sustainable food security and enhanced farmer engagement.

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