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Postbank, farmers ink finance deal

LPB Managing Director Molefi Leqhaoe

Lijeng Ranooe and Bereng Mpaki

LESOTHO Postbank (LPB) and Lesotho National Farmers’ Union (LENAFU) have signed a memorandum of understanding to ensure farmers have greater and easy access to finance.

LPB Managing Director, Molefi Leqhaoe signed on behalf of LBP while LENAFU President ‘Mamolise Lawrence appended his signature at a ceremony that was attended by representatives of both organisations.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Maseru, Mr Leqhaoe said the deal would allow farmers improved access to business loans with cheaper interest rates, with LENAFU acting as the guarantor for its members.

He further said the bank would train the farmers in financial literacy to equip them with basic skills to take better care of their finances.

“There is still a long way to go in teaching our farmers for instance, about how to insure their products,” Mr Leqhaoe said.

“Therefore LPB is going to help you on what to do to access insurance in order to grow the economy.”

He said the deal also seeks to transform the way negative manner in which the financial sector appeared to have towards financing agriculture.

“When individuals come to borrow money for personal reasons, they get help right away but when a farmer comes to borrow money to improve his project, he is taken from pillar to post.

Where is the value in that? This is an issue that we need to seriously interrogate, and hopefully it will be put to rest through this agreement.”

He added that he would be “happier when I see tangible results of this agreement in the lives of our farmers”.

For her part, Ms Lawrence said the deal would ensure farmers kept their money in a safe way rather than hiding it in their homes.

“Seeing that for a long time our people have been keeping their funds in their homes under mattresses and trunks, we found it necessary to strike a working relationship with a financial institution that is capable of helping us to handle our finance in a safer way,” she said.

She added the deal was one of several they had inked with strategic partners to help the union realise its aim of ensuring food security for Lesotho’s inhabitants.

LENAFU was established in 2004 as an apex body representing the interests of farmers in Lesotho.

Ms Lawrence said LENAFU, which has estimated 80 000 membership, had strategic partnerships with the local government ministry for arable land, agriculture ministry to help with technical know-how, and the small business ministry for help in the marketing side of things.


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