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Newsday Media’s Transformative Experience at Macfrut Exhibition 2024

Business


Lerato Matheka
I have had the opportunity to travel across the world with my work, but this month of
May brought a particularly remarkable experience as I visited Italy for the Macfrut
Exhibition. 
When I received the invitation, I was both excited and curious, as I was unfamiliar
with the event. My research quickly revealed its significance, and I discovered that
our inclusion was due to a recommendation from the Lesotho Ambassador to Italy,
Chief Thesele Maseribane. Although all Lesotho media organisations were listed,
Newsday Media was handpicked by the organisers, an honour that filled us with
immense pride.
To my astonishment and honour, Newsday Media and Seahlolo Newspaper were
selected to represent Lesotho among other esteemed organisations. This
acknowledgement was deeply humbling, especially given their specific request for
Seahlolo Newspaper’s presence. 
The organisers even requested our company logos, which were prominently
displayed on their media exhibition wall—a thrilling recognition of our role in
agricultural journalism.
Though the invitation covered certain expenses, I had to secure additional support to
travel to Italy and manage my stay. The exhibition was held in Rimini, a town three
hours by train from Rome. Despite initial stress about sponsorship, everything fell
into place, allowing me to embark on this journey.
Before departing, I informed Ambassador Maseribane of my invitation, and he was
enthusiastic about having a Lesotho-based media presence at the event. His support
was unwavering, and he asked about my goals for the trip. I expressed my desire to
meet influential figures who could aid in our growth, and he did not disappoint.
I left Maseru on May 7th, with a colleague from Sebapala,  an environmental project.
Our excitement was palpable as we anticipated our first trip to Italy, especially to
cover Europe’s largest agricultural exhibition, which hosted over 1,300 exhibitors,
including more than 400 from Africa.
Upon arrival, the Lesotho Embassy welcomed us warmly, ensuring we felt at home.
We joined forces with Professor Kananelo Mosito and Dr. Pulane Nkhabutlane from
the National University of Lesotho (NUL) and its Innovation Hub, forming a
cohesive Team Lesotho. 
Led by Ambassador Maseribane, we headed to Rimini, where we met with Ntate
Lethoba representing the Private Sector Competitiveness.
At Macfrut, Ambassador Maseribane facilitated introductions to key contacts while
allowing us the freedom to conduct our business. 

As the sole media representatives from Lesotho and the African continent, Newsday
Media and Seahlolo Newspaper received prominence. The organisers showcased our
publications alongside global media giants. 
Our logos, complete with QR codes linking to our website, were displayed
prominently, marking a significant milestone for our media outlets and highlighting
Africa’s agricultural potential.
Being the only media organisation from Lesotho and Africa who was invited to the
exhibition and acknowledged as well as appreciated drew attention to the continent’s
agricultural developments and potential.
Effectiveness of H.E. Thesele Maseribane as Lesotho’s Ambassador
Ambassador Maseribane’s effectiveness was evident throughout the exhibition. His
proactive approach in facilitating introductions and his strategic insight into
potential collaborations were invaluable. His leadership ensured that the Lesotho
delegation maximised the opportunities presented by the exhibition, enhancing
Lesotho’s agricultural prospects on a global stage.
The delegation actively engaged with various exhibitors, making significant contacts
and brokering deals to enhance Lesotho’s agricultural practices. Focus areas
included:
Fruit Preservation: Advanced techniques to extend fruit shelf life, reduce waste, and
improve marketability.
Aloe Extracts and Product Development: Engaging with experts on developing high-
value aloe products.
Innovation in Dried Foods and Fruits: Learning about practices to enhance the
longevity and nutritional value of dried foods and fruits.


Lessons Learned
Innovation and Technology:
The exhibition underscored the importance of innovation and technology in boosting
agricultural productivity and sustainability, providing valuable insights for our
readers.
Networking and Collaboration:
Building relationships with international stakeholders highlighted the potential for
future collaborations and joint ventures.
Our participation in Macfrut 2024 was a resounding success. The exposure and
knowledge gained will significantly benefit our publications and the broader
agricultural community in Lesotho and Africa. We are proud to have represented our
nation and continent, showcasing agricultural advancements and opportunities for
growth.


Side Meetings

In Rome, Ambassador Maseribane facilitated further meetings with FAO and IFAD,
where I connected with their communications departments. Additionally, I met with
the director and secretary general of the Federation of Italian Publishers
(Federazione Italiana Editori – FIE). This trip emphasised the ambassadorial role one
assumes when travelling; I found myself advocating for the entire Lesotho media
industry and forming valuable connections.
I also had the privilege of discussing potential scholarships tailored for the media
industry with Luis University, highlighting the media’s role in governmental stability.
A dinner with Prof. Salvatore Martinez from the Vatican and Mr. Enrico Manna from
Naples focused on the importance of Roma in Lesotho, including its historical and
educational significance.
We extend our gratitude to the Lesotho Embassy in Italy and H.E. Thesele
Maseribane for their unwavering support and effective representation. We look
forward to leveraging these insights to drive agricultural development and
innovation in Lesotho and beyond.

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