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Quthing Poised to Become a Horticultural Powerhouse

Business

Libuseng Molato

The president of the Cermac Consortium from Italy this week visited Lesotho to meet with the Quthing Woman-led Empowerment Institute (QuWEI) and assess selected areas for horticulture farming in Quthing. 

His trip is part of a partnership aimed at revolutionising local agriculture and empowering the community through advanced technology and expertise.

Project Focus and Implementation

The joint project, Mamoeketsi Ellen Ntho, President of QuWEI said will focus on planting apples, kiwis, olive trees, berries, and vegetables using selected Italian seeds. Strategic planning will include selecting Italian technologies for post-harvest management, such as cold storage, sorting, packaging, and processing. QuWEI will make available fields of at least five hectares for this purpose, with specified areas including Tele, Mohlakoana and other identified locations.

During the visit, the Cermac president and the QuWEI team met with Thabo Mofosi, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security, and Nutrition, who welcomed the plan. 

The Minister emphasised the government’s shift towards commercial agriculture and the importance of supporting women-led initiatives, aligning with policies from various ministries and donors like United Nations agencies.

A Partnership for Progress

Cermac Consortium, an Italian conglomerate renowned for its specialisation in manufacturing agricultural products, tools, and technologies, particularly for fruits and vegetables, is collaborating with QuWEI and the partnership is set to introduce cutting-edge horticultural practices to Quthing, focusing on both pre- and post-harvest phases.

Belina Manapo Makhele, the General Secretary of QuWEI, explained that the institute, formed by local women, aims to address social ills and improve economic statuses in Quthing through strategic collaborations with NGOs, government bodies, and the business community.

“While we are exploring various sectors, our primary focus is on agriculture and tourism,” Belina said.

QuWEI’s mission encompasses empowering rural women and youth through agritourism, promoting economic empowerment, preserving cultural traditions, and fostering sustainable community development.

Empowering Women and Youth

QuWEI is committed to promoting gender equality and leadership opportunities for rural women and youth in agritourism. By investing in the potential of youth as change-makers, the institute aims to drive positive change in rural communities.

“Ratification is an advocate for inclusive and sustainable rural development, promoting environmentally sustainable agritourism practices to protect natural resources and ecosystem health,” Belina clarified.

Strategic Collaboration with Cermac

The collaboration with Cermac was facilitated after thorough research and consultations, including verifying the company’s credibility through the Italian ambassador. This led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between QuWEI and Cermac.

Mamoeketsi Ellen Ntho, President of QuWEI, highlighted Quthing’s untapped potential. “Quthing boasts fertile land, abundant water resources, rich biodiversity, and favorable weather for fruit tree plantations. Despite its natural wealth, the district faces significant poverty-related social challenges,” she noted.

Leveraging Advanced Technologies

Cermac, a leader in agricultural and agro-industrial technologies in Italy, brings together around thirty companies producing machines, accessories, and equipment for agriculture and animal husbandry. These technologies are crucial for the cultivation, selection, and preservation of fresh produce.

“The mission of Cermac is to help its member companies achieve international recognition and develop opportunities in global markets,” Ntho explained.

Ntho explained that their guest, Enrico Turoni, President of Cermac, has extensive experience in training on international management of the fruit and vegetable market and its production technologies, from field to post-harvest. Turoni has also organised seminars and experimental test fields for agricultural technologies worldwide.

A Bright Future for Quthing

Ntho noted that the collaboration marks a significant step towards transforming Quthing into a prominent horticultural hub. 

“With advanced technologies and strategic planning, the initiative promises to enhance agricultural productivity, foster economic growth, and uplift the community, positioning Quthing at the forefront of Lesotho’s agricultural revolution,” she said.

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