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Lesotho Flour Mills courts local grain producers


Staff Reporter

LESOTHO Flour Mills (LeFM) has stepped up efforts to stimulate the local economy by encouraging local farmers to sell their grains to the company.

The company this weekend announced that it was courting wheat and maize farmers to buy their grain.

LeFM, in which the government controls a 49 percent stake, said it would purchase grains at South African Futures Exchange (SAFEX) prices and process payments seven days after accepting the grains. The remaining 51 percent stake is controlled by multinational agro-processor, Seaboard Overseas and Trading Group.

LeFM said it was welcoming “Basotho farmers, big and small” to supply their grains to the company and receive fast payments and other unstipulated cash incentives.

“LeFM, situated in Maseru, are playing (sic) a key innovative role in giving impetus to local economic development by calling on Basotho farmers and encouraging them to supply their wheat and maize crops directly to their mill,” the company said in a statement.

LeFM CEO, Joao Gonçalves said: “We buy local and trade local to stimulate the local economy”.

The company said it would purchase all grades of wheat and maize from Basotho farmers.

“Payments are processed as quickly as seven days after acceptance. The purchase price of these commodities is made in compliance with SAFEX (South African Futures Exchange), the agricultural trade price used for purchasing from South African commodity traders. SAFEX keeps prices standard and ensures that farmers don’t get underpaid for their produce. Lesotho Flour Mills offers a purchase price based on SAFEX – quoted at close of business the day before – as well as a cash incentive.

“Agricultural development is one of the most powerful tools to end extreme poverty, boost shared prosperity and feed people, according to the World Bank.  In some developing countries, it can account for more than 25 percent of the GDP. In Lesotho, a large majority of the population in rural areas is engaged in subsistence farming and the cultivation of nutritious foods is key in an uncertain climate-changing world.

“LeFM wants to create awareness of this local economic stimulation cycle, meaning the seller (farmer), the manufacturer (the mill) and the consumer (households) all work together to bring prosperity and increase the standards of living for communities and ultimately, their quality of life,” the company said.

Farmers who were interested in selling their grains to LeFM should contact quality control manager, Lerato Kuoe, on 2221-5200 or 5886-6064 for more information.

“We have the right quality and quantity of wheat and maize in Lesotho so by buying and producing it locally, the money goes straight back into the pockets of the community, boosting local economic growth,” Mr Gonçalves said.

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