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May the best farmer win

Business

… as votes open for the best farmers’ efforts

Theko Tlebere

Votes are open for the third annual Farmers Pitso awards pencilled for September 9, 2023, at the Manthabiseng Convention Centre.

The first edition of the prestigious event was in 2019, with the following hosted in 2022 after a two-year covid-19 induced break.

According to a co-founder of Farmer’s Pitso, Thabiso Matšoele, the awards were introduced to instil the winning spirit among Basotho farmers with their different produce.

“The awards are also meant to create a networking and learning platform,” he said.

He indicated the awards are what the Lesotho agriculture sector needs.

“Lesotho has never recognised its farmers, hence we decided as Farmers Pitso to honour ourselves as farmers even, build our confidence and cheer ourselves up and not wait to be recognised and cheered on by other stakeholders,” Matšoele explained.

He stressed that “the awards distinctly define those who are farmers by name and are not doing the actual farming and those who are farmers and have their produce to back it up. This is a platform where farmers promote their businesses, their different products and themselves.”

Matšoele said since the inception of the awards, the magnitude and growth of the awards have amazed the organising team.

“The popularity of the awards is seen by the excitement of the same farmers about their nominations, and the numbers continue to grow with every award ceremony.”

Matšoele said not only raw produce are scrutinised on the day of the awards, but product presentation and branding are one key elements looked at.

“Those that have participated at the awards have shown a lot of improvement in how they have started packaging their products to be industry ready, and there is evidence that branding and packaging of locally produced agricultural productions have taken a hype and that is all thanks to the Farmers Pitso Awards.

Matšoele pointed out that over time the face of agriculture has evolved and is now young and trendy.

“We see more young farmers who use social media platforms and other applications to make agriculture look cooler than it was before, and this has positively impacted the significant growth of the industry.”

Matšoele narrated that their journey started with a series of training sessions dubbed Farmers Pitso, a platform to share ideas, exchange knowledge and skills as well as introduce peers to new technology.

According to a co-founder of Farmer’s Pitso, Thabiso Matšoele, the passion behind the concept was to shy away from the populated farmers’ associations which never yielded positive results for members.

Matšoele noted the Pitso (gatherings) hatched Farmer’s Pitso tours, where farmers would take trips and visit their peers’ workspaces and fields to see first-hand how they succeed in their journeys.

“The interaction with farmers then gave birth to Farmers Pitso Exhibitions, a platform where our member farmers showcased their different products. To ensure that the exhibition was impactful and meaningful, we thought it would make sense to honour farmers that have shown improvement or those that were outstanding, and Farmers Pitso Awards was born.”

With more than ten (10) years at the helm of improving the agricultural sector, the founding members of the Farmers Pitso realised that most farmers were reluctant to pay service fees for activities that they organised.

“The reluctance allowed us to think out of the box and decide not to register under the Societies Act of 1966, nor the Cooperatives Societies Act of 2000 because the structural build-up of organisations under the Societies Act and the Cooperatives Act needs elective committees for operations, and our experience with committees left a bitter taste in our mouths.

“We have seen how committees are not elected based on merits and the very set-up is a fertile environment which usually sprouts conflicts. To avoid that, we decided to register Farmers Pitso as a trust under four trustees; Mr Thabiso Matsoele, Mr Mabele Majake, Mr Tlaba Mochebelele and Ms Puleng Matebesi, thus the trustees have a permanent status to run the trust.

“We have four working sub-committees which are not permanent but are elected to run the existing projects under Farmers Pitso and that’s is how our sustainable model differs, Matšoele said.

He indicated that of all the voted-for categories, they will have ten honorary awards to farmers who have immensely contributed to the agricultural sector.

Matšoele said they have a large cover of all sectors of the industry with about 12 categories covering vegetable production, beekeeping, and dog breeders, among others.

List of nominees below:

Vegetable production category:

VP01. Masontaha Dlamini

VP02. Stholly Farmers Market

VP03. Mokhethi Farms

VP04. Letata Vegetables Pty Ltd

VP05. Mateko Senchoba

VP06. Mabita’s Finest

VP07. Matebello Fresh Vegetables

VP08. Ntsane Mosanteli

VP09. Mphi Food Engineers

VP10. Motoko Farms

VP11. Ntai Experimental Farm

VP12. Thaba Lefika Farm

VP13. Triple J Farming

VP14. Foles Evergreen Farm

VP15. Mphahamise Agri Project

VP16. Ikaheng Pty Ltd

VP17. Ntsali Poone

VP18. Liphapang Fresh produce

VP19. Sebipela Nurseries

VP20. Monts’i Agrivest

VP21. Nkhasi Azael

VP22. Jeritta Farm Hub

VP23. Selemela Farm

VP24. Marake farm

VP25. Tumeliso Tenei

VP26. Ntoahae Makhoa

VP27. Thabiso Sekonyela

VP28. Lisene Vegetables Farm

VP29. Farm Pro & Carpentry

VP30. Marabeng Agric Farm Project

Beekeeping category:

BK01. Makhabane Bee Keeping

BK02. Tseliso Mofubelu

Dog breeders’ category:

DGB01 Mshengu Dogs

DGB02 Wave Kennels

DGB03 Amazing Grace K9 Dog

DGB04 Pretty Dog Centre

DGB05 Rantsoaole

DGB06 Kori dog farm

DGB07 Mothokemang Charles

Basupisi ba liphoofolo category:

BLF01. Ellero Animal Health Consultancy

BLF02. Factor Farms

BLF03. E&E FARM

BLF04. Lebata Artificial insemination

BLF05. Thakane Lekena

BLF06. Jacob Monyane

BLF07. Mokotjo Mphaka

BLF08. Mathapelo Mohapi

BLF09. Mocowene Ntsoana

BLF10. Mpolokeng Sekhesa

BLF11. Tsepiso Lengoasa

BLF12. Abisi Alotsi

BLF13. Matsoha Moletsane

BLF14. Itumeleng Pule

BLF15. Litlhare Malefane

BLF16. Mohapi Lits’oane

Broiler production (BP) category:

BP01 Letsoara Farm

BP02 Hansen Farm

BP03 Lekhoakhoa Farm

BP04 Thaba Lefika Farm

BP05 Sunshine Poultry farm

BP06. Letsibolo Hatchery

BP07. Phethahatso poultry

Processing category:

PR01 Bokamoso Dairy Farm

PR02 Boriba Foods

PR03 Khabo Mango Artchaar

PR04 Mohomane Farm

PR05 Tsunami

PR06 Kananelo Seema

PR07 Karabo Lijo

PR08 Maletsunyane Finest Meat Suppliers

PR09 Elegado Resturant

PR10 Makarabo Molapo

PR11 Lesotho Dairy Products

PR12 Lekhoakhoa Farm

PR13. Luti Vegan Production

PR14. Muta productions

PR15. Thaba khupa

PR16. Thaba-Bosiu Chillie Sauce

PR17. Lecholi

PR18. Masella Senekane

Layers category:

LY01. Mohai farm hub

LY02. New Eden Farm

LY03. Lebonz farm

LY04. Mabele poultry Farm

LY05. Riverside Farm

LY06. Thakadu Farms

Free range chicken category:

FRPF01. Maclau Piggery and Poultry

FRPF02. Farm with Pelei

FRPF03. Jeritta farm hub

FRPF04. Ketela Enterprise

FRPF05. Matebesi Puleng

FRPF06. Thuso Mokati

FRPF07. Thapelo Moleli

Mixed farming MX category:

MX01. Nchephe Farm

MX02. Mathaby Farm

MX03. Khauhelo Ranthamane

MX04. Tay Mixed farming

MX05. Lefahla farm

MX06. Thabies farm enterprise

MX07. Clementina Mofoka

MX08. Mamoji Ramahapu

MX09. Lefa Lesoma

MX10. Ntoahae Makhoa

MX11. Ngoajane Monyako Mohloboli

MX12. Kobia Integrated Farm

Dairy goats category:

DG01. Malipoli

DG02. Karabo Lijo

Lijo thollo category:

LT01. Sello Pitso

LT02. Tikoane Motonosi

LT03. Tsoloane Maphasa

LT04. Motlatsi Cheba

LT05. Mokotso Matheas

Rabbit farming category:

RF01. Boiketla farms

RF02. Lehasa farm

RF03. Monakeli Farm

RF04. Molefi Mofolo

RF05. Daniel Motaung

RF06. Matsime Bongani

RF07. Tlotliso Lesei

RF08. Moiloa’s Agrifarm

Potato production category:

PP01. Mohomane farm

PP02. Foles Evergreen Farm

PP03. Phokeng Farms

PP04. Malia Khampepe

PP05. Rethabile Molorane

Piggery category:

PG01. Koaks Farm

PG02. Number one piggeries

PG03. Maclau piggery

PGO4. Makhoa Ntoahae

PG05. Molapo Shekhane

Sheep and Goats category:

SG01. Potjo Morienyane

SG02. Maletsunyane finest Farm

SG03. Lepoka Leanya

SG04. Mohobane

SG05. Mpeoa Mpeoa

SG06. Dingane Borotho

SG07. Masebabatso Chabana

Innovation category:

INN01. Lema Agrivest

INN02. Mokonyana Tsiame

INN03. Mehloli ea Lintle

INN04. Sentinel farms

INN05. Bokamoso Fish farm

INN06. Lecholi

Agric information category:

AI01. Transform Agribusiness

AI02. Cheeseman Lechesa

AI03. Thakane Mahase

AI04. Tselisehang Nkholise

Basupisi ba lijalo category:

BJ01. Farm tech

BJ02. Black Boer

BJ03. Thabo Molibeli

BJ04. Makhalema

BJ05. Debra Kheekhe

Orchards & Botanical Gardens category:

OBG01. Sebipela Nurseries

OBG02. Kuena Makhetha

OBG03. Tholoana orchards

OBG04.  Thamae

High schools category:

1. HSC 01. MASIANOKENG H.S

2.HSC02. THETSANE H.S

3. HSC03. QHOMANE H.S

4. HSC04.  MAZENOD H.S

5. HSC05. SEFATE SA BOPHELO ENGLISH MEDIUM H.S

6. HSC06. PRINCE MOHATO H.S

7. HSC07. MAPETLA HIGH SCHOOL

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