Govt ready to assist entrepreneurs: Lehana
THE Minister of Trade and Industry Habofanoe Lehana says entrepreneurs should not struggle to source markets for their various products when they can approach his ministry for assistance.
Mr Lehana noted that finding a reliable market is an important aspect of business but also admitted it could be a daunting task for business start-ups.
Mr Lehana said this following a recent trip to the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo (CAETE) where he led a delegation from Lesotho. The delegation included small and medium entrepreneurs who got an opportunity to showcase their products on the tour.
The expo was held in the Hunan Province of China from 27 to 29 June 2019. The Expo is the first economic and trade cooperation platform under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the first industrial promotion initiative to be implemented after the FOCAC Beijing Summit in September 2018.
With the theme “Win-Win Cooperation for Closer China-Africa Economic and Trade Partnership”, the Expo focused on areas like trade and investment promotion, agriculture technology, energy and power, joint industrial parks, infrastructure and financing cooperation among others.
Among the entrepreneurs were those involved in leather products, agri- products, mohair, textile and herbs among others. The entrepreneurs also travelled with officials from the ministries of Trade, Small Business Development and Foreign Affairs; and the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC).
Mr Lehana said the Ministry of Trade and its trade and investment promotion agency, LNDC, are ready to assist businesses to find reliable markets for their products.
“I would like to appeal to the small business sector to approach the ministry and the LNDC as we are here to serve them,” Mr Lehana said.
Mr Lehana said participating in trade expos is another way of exposing local products to potential buyers with a view of securing markets.
“Some of the products from Lesotho that were showcased at the Expo included hand bags, shirts, trousers, push ins, kitchen décor, ear rings and rosemary soap among others, and I take this as significant progress as there were buyers who showed interest in many of these products especially the herbs and products made from organic plants,” Mr Lehana said.
One of the businesspeople who traveled to China, ‘Mammope Matsipa, the director of a local company called Bo-Ma Group of Companies, said the trip was an eye opener which afforded her a chance to network for future business opportunities.
Bo-Ma produces organic manure using earthworms in a process called vermicomposting. The company is currently blazing the trail in promoting the initiative around the country to restore soil quality for the purposes of improved crop production and human nutrition.
“As someone who is fairly new in the business, the trip helped me to have a clear vision about taking the business forward. I have received support from other farmers on how I can improve on my product.
“There were also investors who showed a keen interest in the business and we have exchanged contacts. We are also happy that LNDC and the ministry will assist us in any potential deals that we may enter into with the investors” Ms Matsipa said.