LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION BOOSTS COUNTRY&001;S ECONOMY - PM
Mohale&001;s Hoek, -- The Prime Minister, Dr. Motsoahae Thabane says livestock production is important in boosting the country&001;s and individual farmer&001;s economy.
Speaking during sod turning ceremony for construction of 22 shearing sheds countrywide held at Hloahloeng Mohale&001;s Hoek on Monday, Dr. Thabane said it is through such livestock production that smallholder livestock producers have enough food for consumption and are able to send their children to schools with income they generate.
He said the shearing sheds will be constructed under through a seven year Wool and Mohair Promotion Project (WAMPP) to minimize distance travelled by the farmers and animals to and from the shearing sheds as well as relieve existing ones that are overcrowded.
Dr. Thabane called for cooperation and harmonious working relations among responsible ministers and the farmers in ensuring success of the project that is due to end in 2022.
He further said there is need to have policy that control wool and mohair production enterprise, which he said is valuable, so that it benefits Basotho.
On challenge encountered during payment of the farmers for sale of wool and mohair, Dr. Thabane asked for forgiveness on any inconvenience caused by that, saying that he has ordered for immediate payment of outstanding payments by all who are responsible.
&001;Let us sit down and seek solution to this problem,&001; he said, adding that the government has resolved to engage more brokers to auction the wool and mohair fibre locally.
At the same event, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Mr. Mahala Molapo said the day&001;s activity kick starts more developments to be done at the shearing such as rehabilitation of 43 shearing sheds, supply of electricity and water, construction of over 50 kms feeder roads and slaughter slabs all to cost M100 Million.
He said the WAMP project is intended to boost the economic and climatic resilience of poor smallholderwool and mohair producers and also to enable them to generate higher incomes and more sustainable livelihoods and equip them with skills on wool and mohair marketing, value chain based enterprise enhancement and promotion of livestock auctions.
IFAD Regional Director, Mr. Robson Mutandi thanksd the government of Lesotho for the strong partnership with IFAD and other co-financing organizations as well as the farmers.
He said developments brought by the project symbolize an increase of the value of the district and transformation of the area with more developments.
Chairperson of Lesotho National Wool and Mohair Growers Association (LNWMGA), Mr. Mokoenihi Thinyane applauded the government for its support to the farmers, which he said is the first time the association gets it.
He further thanked the government for allowing them to utilise Quthing and Mokhotlong sheep studs for breeding of improved smallstock saying to date they have produced 1000 lambs, which will be sold from January next year.
Mr. Thinyane said the shearing sheds are highly appreciated as farmers will no longer travel long distance where in some cases they encountered loss if hit by rain while on the way. He added the other challenge as of stock theft that is rife and appealed for protection against it.
WAMPP was signed in 2015 and will end in 2022. It is financed by the government of Lesotho, International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) fund for International Development and LNWMGA.