By: Thoboloko Nts’onyane
MASERU – The Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition Hon Thabo Mofosi has announced the Ministry’s plans to revolutionize farming practices.
This he said last week ahead of the winter farming the government is set to launch today.
The minister said their move has been informed by the study that was undertaken by the Ministry. Mofosi said the farmers should plough wheat in abundance.
“We encourage the farmers to go to the fields in large numbers and sow a lot of wheat. We are going to practice a different farming from what used to happen in the past,” he said.
The Minister said they anticipate a bountiful and high-quality harvest from the same field.
Mofosi also highlighted that the government is currently in talks with banks to offer farmers accessible loans to buy inputs. He also mentioned that the government, banks, and private sector have united their efforts towards this initiative.
Director of Crops Rorisang Mantutle said the adoption of ripper farming practices will help to address the problem of soil erosion while also improving the crop yields.
This farming practice is also commended for its ability to reduce input costs.
The Minister mentioned that they will also promote climate-resilient farming methods and also teach farmers to adapt to changing weather patterns. He said it is high time that many farmers also practice commercial farming adding that Lesotho should soon be in a position to export to other countries.
Today, there will be a demonstration exercise at Kolonyama where farmers are expected to be shown the improved farming techniques and how to saw with ripper machines. This activity, the Minister said, will be rolled out in all districts.
In addition to the measures already announced, the Minister has urged the farmers to observe and adopt ripper farming practices which he said have been proven to produce high yields. The use of heavy machinery is feared to cause soil erosion and degradation.
Ripper farming, on the other hand, is a technique that uses narrow tines to loosen and aerate the soil, thereby reducing soil compaction while also improving the soil health.
By reducing soil erosion and improving soil health, farmers will be able to adapt improved farming methods that will boost their productivity and profitability.
Mofosi said they plan to plough three tons per hectare as minimum and are expecting to harvest 16 200 tons of wheat.
He said they have secured the market for the farmers adding that they have had fruitful discussions with the Lesotho Flour Mills to buy from the farmers. Mofosi also said the farmers who are close to Maseru will keep their yields at the Lesotho Flour Mills silos
also promised that they will construct silos in every district.
The Ministry has introduced an 80 percent subsidy for the fertilizers. This is after they had committed to the tune of M43 million for procurement of fertilizers.
If farming in Lesotho progresses successfully and the country achieves food security status, this move will reinforce the calls made by King Letsie III as the African Union (AU) Champion for Nutrition and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)’s Nutrition Ambassador.