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Entrepreneurs launch buy local campaign

Bereng Mpaki

MAKING a conscious decision to buy local products is crucial to the success of efforts to stimulate local industries and ultimately grow the country’s economy.

This is the message that a group of young entrepreneurs will be spreading through a national campaign to encourage the consumption of local products.

Dubbed the Proudly Mosotho, Buy Local, the campaign which will run from 17 to 20 April this year, will kick off in Maseru with exhibitions and conferences targeting the textile, arts and crafts among several industries.

The organisers have partnered with the Ministry of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing, as well as Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO) to ensure the success of the campaign which seeks to bring together different stakeholders to raise awareness about the need to support local industries.

Various local products will be showcased throughout the campaign.

One of the organisers, Mpho Mahula, the campaign grow to become an annual event covering all districts with networking forums for small to medium enterprises, exhibitions among other activities.

“Lesotho has faced numerous challenges since gaining independence in 1966 and the Proudly Mosotho Buy Local Campaign is designed to ensure our products are sold in the multinational stores,” Mr Mahula said at a recent press briefing.

The meeting was also attended by the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Small Business Development, Lerata Pekane, who said his ministry has been at the forefront of promoting local products since they came into office in the aftermath of the 3 June 2017 snap elections.

He said the recently announced agreement between his Ministry and operator of the national abattoir Meraka Lesotho to facilitate the slaughter of local livestock for red meat production every Wednesday would improve the livelihoods of local farmers.

He also called on the public to bank with the Lesotho Postbank (LPB), the only wholly locally-owned bank in the country.

He said efforts to promote the bank among locals had seen it grow by 153 percent in the last five months during which they have also lent out more than M9 million to Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs).

He said this compared favourably to the M2.8 million that other banks had lent out to SMMEs.

He also said as small gesture to promote national pride and local business, his Ministry also advocated the wearing of clothes made from the Seshoeshoe fabric among its staff every Wednesday since last year.

For her part, the acting Chief Executive Officer of BEDCO, Matšepang Polaki, said that in order for local products to stand a better chance of competing on the international market, it was important for them to be first supported by the local public.

She said without local support, it would be difficult to convince the international market to consume the products.


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