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Maseru

MAAT Agricultural Fair Inspires Students and Promotes Gender Equality in Farming

Business

Libuseng Molato 

Excitement filled the air as the Maseru Association of Agriculture Teachers (MAAT) organized an agricultural fair aimed at promoting and instilling a love for agriculture among students. 

The event took place on the 12th of this month at Masianokeng High School, where fifteen schools gathered not only to compete but to also learn about the importance of agriculture in everyday life.

Each participating school showcased their diverse agricultural products accompanied by detailed presentations covering the journey from soil preparation to the final product. 

Livestock presentations focused on the development and care processes, while some schools showcased innovative agricultural products.

Molapo Shakhane, the chairperson of MAAT, explained that the association was established in 2010 to promote agricultural activities in schools and equip teachers with the necessary knowledge. 

“We want to establish a common ground for teaching agriculture in schools and we noticed variations in school operations leading to poor performance, so, coming together has proven to enhance better results,” he said.

He highlighted the significant improvement seen in both practical and theoretical aspects through competitions and the association’s inputs. 

Shakhane emphasised the importance of enlightening students about agriculture to encourage production and boost morale among pupils. 

“We also hope that the Ministry of Agriculture, through the SADP, can develop a program for schools to capacitate them with grants. Our pupils need to understand commercial farming through hands-on experience,” he noted.

MAAT has partnered with the Farmers’ Pitso Awards to reinforce agricultural awareness among students. 

“They (students) should realise the significance of agriculture and its impact on the economy from an early age and this partnership has played a pivotal role in fueling influence,” Shakhane emphasised.

In an interview with Mothibe Ntabejane, the agricultural teacher from the trophy-winning school, Sefate Sa Bophelo, he attributed their success to hard work, dedication, and a passion for agriculture. 

Ntabejane highlighted their creation of a modern incubator last year, which qualified to represent the country at the ESKOM Expo. 

He emphasised that their performance at the agricultural fair serves as a benchmark for upcoming final examinations, as they prepared meticulously, akin to preparing for final exams.

“I would advise teachers to allow these kids to explore our field and implement a learner-centered approach to their teaching,” Ntabejane advised.

Seahlolo interviewed Liako Matekane, a student from St. Rodrigue High School, specifically about their milk production showcased at the fair, despite the school being exclusively for girls. 

“Culturally, this was seen as a job for boys, but thanks to our teachers, they empowered us to pursue agriculture, including animal rearing,” Liako emphasised.

She shared that their cow produces twenty litres of milk daily, which is used to feed two hundred and forty boarding students. 

During school holidays the surplus milk is sold to the community, highlighting the school’s commitment to sustainability and community engagement.

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