Lesotho’s Ministry of Agriculture, Marketing and Food Security has lifted the ban on vegetables imports. The ban was imposed in February 2021 and was intended to preserve the market for local producers who have often been forced to compete with imported goods. Among the products that were preserved for local producers are tomatoes, green beans and peppers. The ban was meant to have been lifted on 28 February, but the process was delayed as the local farmers could still service the market.
Agriculture minister Tefo Mapesela has now lifted the ban to stop rising prices. Mapesela told the Lesotho Times that while it was noble to preserve the market for local producers of some vegetables, the local farmers were now struggling to cope with the demand, which was driving up prices. “We were now witnessing a high demand in the banned products and that were driving the price upwards,” Mapesela said. He therefore said agribusinesses were now free to import the previously banned fresh produce.