Covid-19 impact on Lesotho’s Agriculture.
The COVID-19 pandemic is far more than a health crisis: it is affecting societies and econ¬omies at their core. While the impact of the pandemic vary from country to country, it is most likely to increase poverty and inequalities at a global scale, making achievement of (SDGs) Sustainable Development Goals even more urgent. To agree with UNDP is to accept the fact. Economic turmoil associated with the coronavirus pandemic has wide-ranging and severe impacts upon financial markets, including stock, bond and commodity (including crude oil and gold) markets. Major events included the Russia–Saudi Arabia oil price war that resulted in a collapse of crude oil prices and a stock market crash in March 2020
We have seen what happened to world economy since this pandemic began, the world standing still. In what we call lockdown around the world some businesses ceased their operations, while some operated in the very lower scale. At the same time, some new businesses emerged, with even more innovations the will lead the world ahead. To the farmers in Lesotho, the outbreak came as the eye opener, many farmers realised the need to grow their farms, the need to innovate the value chain.
Let’s argue it little bit, the pandemic has impacted the restaurant businesses, which we know are the major buyers of agro-produce. In the beginning of March 2020, some major bars and restaurants were closed and currently the seating down is limited, as only takeaways are allowed. This has affected the profitability of those companies. Good enough, most of these businesses we importing almost everything, leaving Lesotho farmers in the deep illusion that they are doing enough to the fact of lacking market.
The cloud of this pandemic minimized the importation of goods, and that only was enough motive for our local farmers. It is by then that we saw a high traffic of farmers in Marakeng offices registering to sell their products online.
We saw even in world markets that technology was the only living thing as everyone saw the importance of going digital. Even in Agribusiness Academy, we introduced the e-learning platform to facilitate online training of farmers. We saw new businesses motivated by the pandemic, example is the business that was promoted by agribusiness Magazine, LECHOLI.
Farmers in Lesotho are now understanding the value of self-sustainability for food security. Did the covid hit us hard? Yes it did, but as one of my mentors, Mr Mohale Moloi say, “Hunger is the greatest motive for humans”, it hit us very hard that we are now a motivated nation to produce. We are inspired that in the next decade, we will produce at tiniest, 50% of what we eat.
Covid-19 taught us that we should eat what we produce and produce what we eat, this thing of depending upon other nations is really not helping our country and even agricultural sector at all.
With all that I have said do I say the impact is good on agricultural sector while we cannot import even the inputs? Yes the impact is so positive that we will realize the need to even produce our own inputs.