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Makhakane Proves Her Worth: A Triumph for Women in Wool and Mohair Farming

Business

By Lerato Matheka

In a remarkable display of skill and determination, 49-year-old Mathakane Mahase from Seforong in the Quthing district showcased her prowess as a wool and mohair farmer, clinching victory in the category B sheep rearing competition at the annual Southern Mountains Association for Rural Transformation and Development (SMARTD) ram festival.

The festival, a cornerstone event in the agricultural calendar, serves to prepare small-stock farmers affiliated with SMARTD for district ram festivals organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Nutrition. 

This year, the competition took place at Hloahloeng in Mohale’s Hoek, within the vibrant community of Sebaratlane.

Drawing participants from five wool and mohair breeders associations spanning Qacha, Mohale’s Hoek, Quthing, and Semonkong, the competition showcased the talent and dedication of farmers across the region.

For Mahase, whose husband works in South Africa, wool and mohair farming is more than just a livelihood—it’s a passion and a commitment to her family’s prosperity.

“Many women are entrusted with the responsibility of caring for their family’s livestock, yet they often go unrecognised because of their lack of interest. I am proud to stand as a woman who leads and thrives in this industry,” she remarked.

Her victory at the festival served as validation of her efforts. 

“I am overjoyed by my win today. It reaffirms my belief in the potential of women in agriculture,” she exclaimed.

Mahase, a mother of four, manages a flock of 30 sheep—a testament to her dedication to the craft.

However, her success did not come without challenges. Mahase emphasised the importance of training and investing in quality breeding stock to enhance productivity. 

“I attended numerous training sessions and decided to purchase an improved ram for my flock. It was a decision I do not regret,” she shared with pride.

Mahase’s triumph serves as a testament to the resilience and potential of women in agriculture, inspiring others to pursue their passions and excel in the field. As Lesotho’s agricultural sector continues to evolve, stories like Mahase’s underscore the vital role of women in driving progress and prosperity in rural communities.

Among the other notable winners was Nkopane Nkopane, whose marino sheep secured the coveted title of Champion of the Year in 2023. Nkopane’s ewe also claimed victory in the Ewe of the Year category. In the Angora goat category, Lehlomela Mohapi’s goat emerged triumphant as the Champion of the Year.

Faku Fako, SMARTD’s Program Coordinator, underscored the significance of the event in promoting quality and innovation in livestock farming. 

“The festival provides farmers with an invaluable opportunity to assess the quality of their products and benchmark their performance against their peers,” he explained.

Additionally, Fako highlighted the event’s role in fostering market opportunities and promoting unity among participating associations.

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