Diversifying into fruit

Women fruit farmers water in MahobongWomen farmers water newly planted trees at the roll-out site in Mahobong © M Mohale

The Private Sector Competitiveness Project (PSCP) is rolling out a fruit production programme in Mahobong, Leribe District in Lesotho. This initiative follows three pilot projects which tested whether fruit production could thrive in the area. With the help of horticulture experts, farmers were able to produce and sell high quality peaches, gooseberries, cherries, apples and plums to supermarkets in Lesotho and South Africa. The World Bank is injecting €1.62 million to help create an investor-friendly business climate and to support economic diversification in Lesotho. Mahobong was selected for the roll-out due the area's accessibility, easy access to water and electricity and the availability of a nearby storage facility. Nine farmers have already combined their land and embarked on production of apples, plums and peaches. In September 2012 they planted 14,000 fruit trees on 11.4 hectares, which will be producing harvestable fruit within three years. The farmers plan to form an association and eventually operate as a company.

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