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LNDC, LDF partnership grows

kamoliLetuka Chafotsa

MASERU — Oblata Resources Limited has offered to help find markets for Mountain Kingdom Canners, a joint venture between the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) and Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC).

LNDC and LDF earlier this year signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly revive Basotho fruits and Vegetable Canners in a move meant to boost employment and the economy.

An agreement which will steer up operations of the newly formed joint venture company Mountain Kingdom Foods (PTY) Ltd was signed by LNDC, LDF and Montara Continental Limited (a subsidiary of Oblata Resources Limited) last week.

LNDC Chief Executive Officer Joshua Setipa said the agreement was to ensure that LNDC and LDF can boost the food industry and to drive economic growth while also reaching sustainable development.

Setipa further said economically the movement was a mechanism for generating higher levels of income in production of fruits and vegetables to ensure commercial farming when compared to conventional agricultural activity.

“Our partnership with the armed forces as well as Oblata will further enhance the efforts of the farmers’ associations to ensure adequate and consistent supplies for processing at the cannery, thereby enabling to operate at maximum capacity levels at the times,” Setipa added.

Setipa said LNDC is actively diversifying investments into various sectors such as agro-processing, to help the resuscitation of the cannery which will have economic gains that might accrue if the region were to increase its fresh fruit and vegetable production to accommodate local or regional demand.

LDF Commander, Lt. Gen Tlali Kamoli said the army welcomed LNDC’s proposal to join hands to ensure that Masianokeng area is exploited in an effective manner.

“We are happy to be part of this initiative and we consider that as our secondary role while our primary role is to ensure that property of the country is taken care of,” Kamoli said.

Simon Rollason, Oblata’s managing director, said that, “An optimised cannery working at full capacity and supported by modern farming operation will have a significant positive impact upon the social and economic conditions of the rural and farming community”.

Rollason further indicated that the agreement would be a stepping stone to addressing the scary unemployment problems the country is faced with.

“This opportunity takes us another step towards our goal of creating a fully vertically integrated business and allowing us to promote farming to be self sufficient and sustainable in the country”, said Rollason.

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