Entirely surrounded by South Africa, Lesotho is also one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 159 out of 189 in the latest UN Human Development Index.
Unemployment is high, public services are scant and almost a quarter of the population is infected with HIV.
The government charges €30k (R488k) for a one-year renewable licence to grow cannabis.
But the cost is too steep for most locals, and the market is dominated by foreign companies, mainly from Canada and the United States.
BASOTHOS MISS OUT
Mothiba Thamae has been growing apples, peaches and raisins on 7.5 hectares of land for over two decades.
He can not afford the “green gold” licence.
“We hoped the government would give small Basotho farmers the opportunity to cultivate (cannabis) legally,” said the 38-year old, referring to Lesotho’s main ethnic group.
“Unfortunately they did not.”