THE development of agro-processing industry is high on the list of priorities in the new five-year strategic development plan that the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) is currently working on.
This was revealed by LNDC Chief Executive Officer, Mohato Seleke, at a recent Strategic Development Plan consultative meeting in Maseru.
Mr Seleke said Lesotho could draw valuable lessons from the experiences of South Africa, Singapore, China and other countries that had successfully grown their economies by strengthening the links between agriculture and manufacturing through agro-processing.
“We are now moving into different economic sectors as per our mandate but we will be selective by being active in the agriculture sector as part of efforts to stimulate and expand the manufacturing sector,” Mr Seleke said.
He said the LNDC would push for use of modern technology to improve output in the manufacturing sector.
“We will invest in agro-processing in a way that will bring together various innovations and facilitate the creation of industries with a view to reducing poverty.”
He further explained the strategic development plan will facilitate the review of portfolio of investments, which was last done 27 years ago in an effort to create opportunities that would bring industries closer to farming communities.
“We want to build the capacity of Basotho, including farmers, for them to participate meaningfully in agro-processing.”
He said it was a shame that for many years Lesotho did not focus on training local entrepreneurs to venture into the manufacturing sector which is currently dominated by foreign investors.
LNDC’s mandate is to initiate, promote and facilitate development of manufacturing, processing industries, mining and commerce in a manner calculated to raise the level of income and employment in Lesotho.
Speaking at the same consultative meeting, Teboho Shelile from Nedbank Lesotho encouraged LNDC to invest the shares it holds in the parastatals so that they can be traded on the Maseru Securities Market.
Among others, LNDC has stakes in the Basotho Canners; CashBuild, Shoprite stores, Avani Maseru/Lesotho hotels, LNDC Centre Property, Maluti Mountain Brewery, Loti Brick, Lesotho Milling Company, Defcort Flats; and in factory shells in different parts of the country.