Monday, May 20, 2024
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Lesotho Farmers Gain Insights from Limpopo Agricultural Experts


By Kabelo Masoabi

Thirty local farmers embarked on a transformative journey to Limpopo province in South Africa, eager to gain valuable insights into marketing mechanisms and establish commodity groups in Lesotho.

Commodity groups, characterised by collective efforts among producers, offer a promising avenue for advancing agricultural development and fostering mutual support. 

These groups collaborate to enhance product marketability, conduct research, monitor quality standards, and provide training to emerging farmers. 

In Lesotho, where smallholder farmers face challenges accessing consistent markets and sharing vital information, the need for such collaborative initiatives is particularly pronounced.

According to Malefetsane Raliengoane, Communication Specialist for the Southern Africa Development Project (SADP) II, the farmers’ five-day itinerary in Limpopo aimed to facilitate connections with prominent farmers, experts, and industry stakeholders. 

“The primary objective was to gain insight into how commodity groups in the region effectively address challenges to market access.”

“The groups are planned to bring together people of common interest related to a particular commodity or sector in a particular region, whether for export, for the domestic market, or both. It’s extremely important for producers to get connected so they do not get left out of anything critical to the business or pleasure of farming,” Raliengoane explained.

During their visit, the farmers explored various smallholder schemes, including Meyanzwe, The River, and Tshiombo, gaining firsthand experience of successful agricultural practices. 

Additionally, they visited the Mpesi Agricultural Nursery, where they learned about seedling cultivation techniques tailored to withstand challenging field conditions.

Lebonajoang Ts’eane, a vegetable farmer from Thaba Tseka, highlighted the collective approach to cultivation adopted by Limpopo farmers. 

He emphasised the benefits of collaborative work, stating, “Farmers and their clients work together from the selection of seeds and throughout the cultivation process, allowing small producers to reliably sell more produce at guaranteed markets with better quality and higher prices.”

Matente Khethisa from Leribe shared her experience of local farmers forming the Mahobong Progressive Farmers community group. 

Inspired by the collective approach witnessed in Limpopo, Khethisa aims to transform the group into a commodity-focused entity.

She stressed the importance of maintaining a consistent supply to the market through coordinated planting schedules and collective action.

As Lesotho’s farmers return home armed with newfound knowledge and inspiration, they are poised to drive meaningful change in their local agricultural communities. Through collaborative efforts and shared learning, they are set to usher in a new era of agricultural prosperity and resilience in the Mountain Kingdom.

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