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Lecholi to stimulate commercial meat production

Bereng Mpaki

NEWLY formed meat enterprise, Lecholi, wants to bolster local meat production by building a sustainable supply of high-quality meat products for the Lesotho market.

The company, which has been in a market testing phase since last month, is planning to empower different piggery, beef, mutton and poultry producers by equipping them with standardised production skills. This will ensure uniformity of their products.

Lecholi director Lejone Mpotjoane said they observed that local meat production was mainly constrained by low individual production capacity, lack of technical production skills and lack of market access.

He said by grouping farmers and standardising their production lines, Lecholi would provide a secure market for the farmers’ products.

“Lecholi is here to stimulate local meat production capacity to meet the country’s needs with a view towards contributing significantly to the country’s economic growth,” Mr Mpotjoane said.

“We will train farmers on acceptable market requirements to ensure that we supply the market with constantly high-quality products despite it being produced by different farmers.

“We have inspectors who visit the farmers’ production bases to assess their production lines. We will then hold production line classes to train the farmers.”

He said their thrust would be ensuring that the best quality of meat is delivered to the clients.

“Lecholi stocks the best quality meats for customer satisfaction. As much as we want to support producers, we will not compromise on the quality of the products that we sell to our customers.”

He said securing a market for producers would enable them to expand their production thereby creating jobs along the value chain.

“We are also going to hire distribution agents to deliver the meat products to our consumers at competitive market prices. This will present an opportunity for unemployed graduates.”

The advent of the company not only builds the primary production entrepreneurs’ capacity but also bolsters that of service (marketing) entrepreneurs.

Mr Mpotjoane said their business model has been shaped by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which has changed the way business is conducted due to its inherent safety protocols.

“We harness the power of the internet and other communication channels to market our high-quality products to the market. We do not have physical trading outlets. We receive customers’ orders and conveniently deliver to their doorstep.”

The company engages existing butcheries for slicing and cold storage.

Mr Mpotjoane said the feedback from clients in this early phase has been satisfactory. He said they supply both domestic and business consumers.

“To date we have sold over 30 cows, over 20 pork carcasses and 150 chickens sourced from local farmers. The response that we are getting has been amazing to date. Its growth rate is good.

“We are starting with three storage facilities in the central, northern and southern regions of the country to serve customers in those areas.”

The company hopes to expand its range by venturing into meat processing to produce different products such as minced meats, sausages and bacon among others.

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