By T’soloane Mohlomi –
The Prime Minister of Lesotho, Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane has vowed that government will aid farmers in various means necessary to ensure they produce sufficient crops to fight the scourge of food insecurity.
The Prime minister said this during the government’s official launch of Winter Cropping which was held recently in Kolonyama, Leribe.
The government pledged to plough 1564 hectares of land at Ha Manama alone, and not less than 4694 tons of wheat were expected to be produced during harvest. A current subsidy of 70% for seeds and 80% for fertilizers is expected to continue to stand.
In the background of government utilizing extensive means and efforts to enhance farming in the country and to further stimulate the economy, with the latter intent being the predominant topic in most of the PM’s orations: he went on to reiterate that government aimed to help farmers produce crops in excessive quantities, and highlighted the importance of ushering farmers into the new dawn of farming which encapsulated the use of modern technology to yield food production.
Encouraging the utilization of effective block farming methodologies, he appealed to all farmers to fully engage in agriculture, saying the government would offer them technical support in their efforts.
“Working together we can indeed achieve a lot, the government through the Ministry of Agriculture has mandate of ensuring there is sufficient food in the country ,so we are here today to present to you vast and innovative means of improving your farming. Over the years a lot of money has been invested in farming but that has yielded little to no results for Basotho, we aim to ensure the emergence of better and improved yields for you,” he said.
Amongst the various key points marked out by the Prime Minister; was the ability to select suitable farming fields providing fertile soil, the proper inspection of such soil, the selection of seeds and fertilizers suitable for varying soil types, the utilizing of soil in prescribed quantities, the use of the right machinery for the right job, correct ploughing techniques, the right use of rippers and their associated benefits, and most importantly choosing of a perfect time to reap the produce.
In inclusively ensuring the success of progressive farming, and verifying that not only winter cropping succeeded, relevant stakeholders are also to be included for all farming stakeholders to maintain a united front.
“It is our wish to engage various stakeholders, like farmers and all others that are willing to help us in this campaign. Among other stakeholders we will include District Administrators, commercial traders of farming equipment, security agencies (Police & Army) and the banks. A simulation will be done addressing how in particular we would like farming practices to be approached,” the PM explained.
In addition, with regards to the School Feeding Programme, the PM said that the minister of Education and the Minister of Agriculture would create a memorandum of understanding in order to ensure the programme is kicked off in the various villages. High schools will be highly engaged in these programmes.
Also speaking, the Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition, Mr. Thabo Mofosi said due to climate change, agriculture needed an advanced approach, saying the government would assist farmers to fulfil the Prime Minister’s mandate of a Lesotho-driven economy.
He said his ministry will work tirelessly to ensure that Lesotho produces in large quantities so Lesotho can feed herself and export to other countries.
He said the tractors to be used for ploughing the fields are well advanced, and equipped with special technology aiding in the sustenance of moisture in the soil.
On the same token, the Principal Chief of Tsikoane, Peka and Kolburg, Chieftainess Pontšo Mathealira said Leribe is blessed with good soil hence this assistance is going to enhance production in the country.
She commented that Leribe has a large scale of farming and can feed the whole country if its farmers are assisted.
Agricultural machinery was on display throughout the course of the event