Ministry hosts small businesses market
THE department of marketing in the Ministry of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing on Friday hosted a market for small business owners at Pitso House in Mohale’s Hoek.
Dubbed the Regional Market Campaign, the day saw 43 traders from Mohale’s Hoek, Qacha’s Nek, Quthing and Mafeteng selling their wares racking in M4 301 in sales.
Consumers purchased agricultural produce such as vegetables, dried fruits and fruit juices among others. Non-agricultural products on display included cosmetics, jewellery, clothing and plastic mats among others.
The ministry also invited the Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO), Buy Lesotho, the Wool and Mohair Promotion Programme (WMPP), the Lesotho PostBank, Lesotho National Farmers Union (LENAFU) and Liberty Life Lesotho to offer traders information on their services.
The event was attended by marketing director Lenkhoe Makhate, marketing manager Tlhakanelo Moshoeshoe, the principal chief of Phamong ‘Matšenolo Bereng, Mohale’s Hoek’s District Administrator Lira Adam and Mohale’s Hoek’s #58 constituency legislator Lebona Sentje Leonard.
Mr Moshoeshoe said prior to the inception of the ministry in 2015, a large number of traders struggled for information about the functions of the departments of small business development, cooperatives and marketing.
“We noticed that a large portion of the nation was confused as to where they could find us and where we worked from and others got lost along the way,” Mr Moshoeshoe said.
“The confusion also came from the fact that we work closely with ministries such as Trade and Agriculture, and the services we offered were similar.”
The activities on Friday began with a recreational march from Litšoeneng to Pitso House, dissemination of information about the ministry’s functions and its location and provision of a platform for traders to advertise their products.
The march commenced at Litšoeneng where the government intends to construct a fresh produce market centre later this year to cater for traders and consumers from the southern region.
Mr Makhate said they were happy to gather the government and the business sector who both had roles to play in the country’s economic growth.
He added that Basotho should also develop a love for buying local products that are not genetically modified.
BEDCO’s enterprise development officer ‘Mamonyane Rantsebe said they participated in the initiative to engage with the traders.
“We are the ministry’s implementing agency and we are here to see the products that are being displayed today and speak to some of the traders, some of whom we have already helped.
“BEDCO’s mandate is to sure that Basotho start sustainable businesses,” Ms Rantsebe said.
LENAFU representative Mahasela John Nkoko encouraged the traders to seize the opportunity. He also highlighted some of the challenges that are encountered by small business owners among them the lack of certification and testing of local products and lack of financing and support from the concerned ministries.
The majority of the traders said there was need to improve information dissemination and that they were not given constructive criticism. They also suggested that the market take place frequently.