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Empowering Farmers: Diversifying Income and Enhancing Livelihoods

Business

By Kamohelo Makhofola

Farmers from across Lesotho recently converged at Monakeli Farm for a transformative training event aimed at equipping them with new skills and strategies to diversify their income streams and enhance their livelihoods using food.

Central to the training was a focus on utilising locally grown vegetables to create popular fast food items such as kota, dagwood, pizza, and burgers. 

Hosted by Monakeli Farm from March 15th to 17th in Maohobong, Leribe, the training addressed the pressing need for farmers to explore alternative sources of income beyond traditional crop farming, processing and selling.

In a country where many farmers rely heavily on a single crop for their income, diversification presents a promising avenue for economic resilience and sustainability. 

The training shed light on various options for diversifying income, ranging from value-added products to tapping into new market opportunities. 

Participants gained valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities associated with diversification and received practical guidance on implementing these strategies effectively.

Mats’eliso Mpuputla, affectionately known as Chef Pree, emphasised the significance of empowering farmers to create their businesses and generate income. 

“With limited job opportunities available in Lesotho, farmers must explore alternative income-generating avenues using the same food they produce,” she explained.

Chef Pree stressed the importance of tailoring the training to the needs and preferences of the farmers, ensuring that the skills imparted were both relevant and practical for their businesses.

The success of the training was evident in the enthusiastic participation of the farmers, who welcomed the opportunity to learn new skills and explore innovative ways of earning a living. 

The chef expressed satisfaction with the outcomes of the workshop, noting the positive response from participants and their eagerness to apply their newfound knowledge.

For many farmers, Monakeli Farm served not only as a venue for learning but also as a supportive community where relationships were forged and support networks were established. 

Participants found inspiration and encouragement in the collaborative environment, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose.

Reflecting on her experience at the workshop, Mpati Makotoko of Sunshine Chicken underscored the importance of freshness and quality in promoting healthy eating habits. 

She recognised the potential of locally grown produce to contribute to a healthier community and expressed determination to overcome challenges related to consumer preferences for imported products.

“The training I received has transformed my outlook on farming and entrepreneurship,” Makotoko shared. 

“I now have the knowledge and skills to turn my locally grown produce into profitable products, allowing me to reinvest in my farm and secure a sustainable future for myself and my family.”

As Lesotho’s agricultural landscape continues to evolve, initiatives like the training at Monakeli Farm play a vital role in empowering farmers, fostering innovation, and building resilient communities. Through collaborative efforts and shared commitment, farmers are poised to thrive in an ever-changing agricultural sector, creating a brighter future for themselves and future generations.

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