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80 farmers make the cut


…Signed contracts with the Agric Ministry and SADP

Lineo Mahlomola

Out of 244 applications for the Smallholder Agriculture Development Project (SADP) II grant, only 80 applicants met the 100 per cent requirement and signed contracts with the Project and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition.

According to SADP II Director, Malichaba Nkhethoa, her organisation took to heart the process and ensured only deserving applicants made the cut.

Nkhethoa explained that for a business to be selected for the SADP II grants, the mandate is to see growth and success for the said business, and such a business needs to already have a successful direction.

She explained the challenges the selection team faced when making their decisions saying technical capabilities and ownership of businesses were at the core of the selection.

“The overall applications the SADP II received were 244, but only 230 managed to make it to technical review for screening, and only 210 applications proceeded to the committee evaluations.

“Of the 210 finalists, when the committee went for inspection evaluation only 80 applicants were successful and approved,” she explained the process.

“For a person to qualify to be part of the SADP II, they needed to have clear documents including traders license and tax clearance, but some of the applications did not have such, while some whose applications had documents, they were forged.

“During the field visits, the committee discovered that land did not belong to the young applicants as stated in their applications but belonged to their parents. There were a lot of inconsistencies with the large number of applications,” the director revealed.

She indicated that regardless of the challenges, her organization saw an interest that needed nurturing, thus the SADP introduced a youth mentorship program meant to teach the young aspiring farmers and hopefuls skills and knowledge on how to run successful farming companies.

“The project aims to expected to start in August,” she said.

To the successful applicants, Nkhethoa pleaded that they stuck to their applications plans to achieve success.

“Take advantage of this opportunity to enhance and better your businesses.”

“In life, the only way to miss success is to miss an opportunity, therefore young people take this chance, open your doors for this opportunity that is knocking, grab it with both hands, use the resources availed to you and win for yourself and for the country. We trust in you to change the face of what agriculture is. You are young and have potential,” she said.

The Smallholder Agriculture Development Project (SADP II) is a project aimed at working on the improvement of using current resources for climate change, increasing commercial farming and the improvement of good nutrition.

Speaking at the award ceremony, the Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition Thabo Mofosi, said the youth contract signing is an assurance of the Lesotho government’s commitment to reduce hunger and poverty in the country and address unemployment.

The minister indicated that the SADP II’s work falls in line with the National Strategic Development Plan which speaks and seeks the drive of production, agricultural development and Tourism.

Mofosi said his ministry have set goals that they would increase cereals production, increase production of fruits and vegetables, production of wool and mohair, production of livestock and the production of different food for the good nutrition.

Mofosi also plead with the beneficiaries to work hard saying the government that is expecting them to bring change to the country’s ability to produce food.

“We are very proud as the ministry that we have youth receiving farming grants and we are expecting you to go and work hard on where you shown that you can do better to change the country to produce food for itself. We are also expecting enterprenuers in farming to take farming as their gift that one we can rejoice as the country to have someone who brought change in this country,” he added.

Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries,’Mapontšo Mosili said they decided to take a step on how they can make a living out of farming and make other youth be sincere in farming.

“Mostly the growth of the country is indicated among youth, but it is very unfortunate that every year we have graduates but they end up not doing anything for the growth of the country, so we took a step to start on how to make a way of living and this is where we were given an opportunity to increase the rate of farming and we are very thankful for that. We promise to work with the project, we will even help others to also have an opportunity to be part of us to make an improvement of economy in the country,” Mosili said.   

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