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United States unveils new $31.4 million award to strengthen Lesotho’s poultry sector as KFC chicken supply chain challenges

Standard Lesotho Bank launches groundbreaking M11 million cashback rewards for loyal customers footer
Standard Lesotho Bank launches groundbreaking M11 million cashback rewards for loyal customers footer
KFC Maseru Mall

KFC has been forced to shut down all its branches in Lesotho after a government ban on chicken imports from South Africa where multiple Avian Flu outbreaks have been recorded since April

Tulani Ngwenya
MASERU, Lesotho – The United States Embassy in Maseru on Monday announced a $31.4 million award under the Food for Progress (FFP) Programme to enhance and fortify the country’s poultry sector, a move that is poised to rescue fast-food chain, KFC in the mountain Kingdom. The significant news comes at a time when KFC, has been forced to temporarily close its restaurants in Lesotho due to the severe bird flu outbreak in neighbouring South Africa.

Lesotho imports the majority of goods, including food, from South Africa.

For decades, the FFP programme has been instrumental in supporting global agricultural systems and
stimulating rural economies. The latest initiative will be implemented in Lesotho by Land O’Lakes
Venture 37, a trusted partner known for its successful agricultural development programmes. The
programme aims to promote climate-smart agricultural practises, improve food security, and foster
economic growth within Lesotho, marking a significant milestone as this is the first time Lesotho will
benefit from FFP funding.

Recent challenges faced by KFC

The recent challenges faced by KFC, a fast-food giant known for its world-famous fried chicken, highlight
the importance of strengthening Lesotho’s poultry sector. KFC was compelled to temporarily close all its
restaurants in Lesotho due to the bird flu outbreak in South Africa. The Lesotho government responded
by banning all poultry imports from its neighbour, severely affecting the fast-food chain’s supply chain.
KFC, which relies on a steady supply of chickens primarily sourced from certified farms in South Africa, is
taking proactive steps to address this issue. The company has assured its loyal customers that its
restaurants will soon reopen in Lesotho, following the resolution of the supply chain disruption.

The United States is resolute in its commitment to combat hunger, malnutrition, and the creation of
more sustainable, equitable, and resilient food systems, both domestically and abroad. As the largest
provider of international agricultural, economic development, and humanitarian assistance, the United
States leads global efforts to enhance food security and nutrition through programmes like the USDA’s
FFP and McGovern-Dole Programmes.

In the wake of global challenges such as the pandemic, rising hunger and poverty, climate change, and
international crises like the war in Ukraine, food security has taken on renewed urgency. Over 190
million people worldwide currently face acute food insecurity, with wide-reaching and devastating
consequences. Food insecurity affects not only livelihoods but also the health and education of
individuals, particularly children. Vulnerable populations suffer the most, and food insecurity can hinder
overall economic growth while increasing the risk of violent conflicts and civil unrest.

More on this topic

Bird flu forces KFC Lesotho to shut down

Bird Flu Virus Infections in Humans

Avian influenza (Bird Flu) Fact Sheet

Information on Bird Flu


The $31.4 million investment in Lesotho’s poultry sector through the FFP Programme represents a
significant stride towards addressing these challenges and advancing agricultural development and food
security in the region. The United States remains committed to ensuring the success of such
programmes while addressing global nutritional needs and striving for a world where hunger is
eradicated and food security is a reality for all.

South Africa is one of the continent’s biggest poultry exporters. But that reputation and capacity have taken a dent because of up to 60 bird flu outbreaks since April 2023. The outbreaks have forced South Africa to cull in excess of 30% of its chickens.

In recent months, South Africa has felt the strain emanating from the outbreaks with the price of a crate of farm fresh eggs rising from an average of R45 to a staggering R125 in the few supermarkets that have them in stock.

Importation of South African poultry also banned in Namibia now affecting Lesotho’s KFC

And the pinch is now being felt in other countries like Lesotho and Namibia, which has also banned chicken imports from South Africa.

A statement from KFC in Lesotho this week said they would continue engaging “the relevant stakeholders” to find a resolution.

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