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Govt in M15 million drive to alleviate hunger 

Ntsebeng Motsoeli

THE government has purchased M1, 58 million worth of grain from Leribe farmers for redistribution to needy Basotho, Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro has said.

All in all, the government will spend M15 million on purchasing food from local farmers to ensure no one starves in the country, Dr Majoro said.

He said the initiative was aimed at addressing the prevailing food insecurity caused by successive El-Nino induced droughts and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The food shortages have affected almost half of the country’s 2, 1 million population.

Dr Majoro said this in Hlotse, Leribe at the recent launch of the nationwide food purchase programme. The programme was launched with the purchase of M1, 58 million worth of various grains from Leribe farmers.

He said the government would purchase more food crops from local farmers. for distribution to people who had been identified as needing food aid.

“The government has today in Leribe launched a nationwide local food purchase programme to address the national food emergency,” Dr Majoro said.

“This programme also seeks to encourage Basotho to grow their own food with the assurance that their produce will have a ready market.

“The government has set aside M15 million to acquire from Basotho farmers maize, beans and sun flower. International partners responding to the food emergency are encouraged to also take part in the local food purchase programme. The food will be packaged and delivered to our people who are in dire need of food assistance.”

Dr Majoro said the local food purchase programme is expected to complement the government’s call for Basotho to produce food in bulk and create market certainty.

He said and estimated 766 169 Basotho will be in dire need of food assistance in 2021. About 582 169 of those live-in rural areas while 184 000 are in urban areas.

Even though harvests were poor this year, there were still Basotho farmers who produced enough beans and maize to sell.

“Today the government has purchased 68 650 tonnes of beans and five tonnes of maize. We are still looking to buy cooking oil to ensure a balanced diet.

“We therefore, appeal to Basotho who produce cooking oil to immediately contact the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) to purchase it from them,” Dr Majoro said.

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