The Smallholder Agriculture Development Project (SADP) under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Marketing held the grant awarding ceremony for 67 local farmers in Maseru this week.
A multitude of local farmers gathered in the capital city for the ceremony.
When explaining the purpose of the event, Project Director Malichaba Nkhethoa said the event was aimed at launching the SADP website and to award the rural farmers funds that are meant to assist them to develop their agricultural businesses.
She explained that the ceremony comes after a public call to the rural farmers who were invited to make proposals for the acquisition of the funds from the SADP, adding that the group is the second batch of famers to be funded under the SADP following the urban farmers who were funded some years ago.
Nkhethoa noted that the launching of the SADP (2) website will speed up the service delivery to those in need. She also said that this will also attract youth to join agriculture and contribute positively to the economy of Lesotho.
The SADP Programme began functioning with seven urban famers and now extending the hand to the rural farmers so as to cover the whole nation.
Meanwhile, speaking for the SADP beneficiaries Reitumetse Matlosa said it has been years since SADP assisted them to develop their business to another standard of production. She said her company was funded with M300 000.00.
She stated that the funding helped them as a company to buy the resources they needed to evolve their production. She also explained that SADP did not only offer the funds but even knowledge to assure better use of funds that add value to their businesses.
When encouraging the newly awarded famers a vegetable famer from Maseru Bokang Peetje said he was assisted by the SADP to develop his business. He warned the new famers that agriculture demands attention for one to get better results out of it.
â€œThe biggest challenge with the local farmers is lack of knowledge and this reduces our productionâ€ said Peetje. He encouraged the new farmers to be committed to their jobs daily.
Speaking at the event district Agricultural officer from Thaba Tseka Makhala Phalatsi urged the service providers to always be available in resource centers for farmers to get help from the service providers where it is needed.
Director planning Mabolaoana Phakisi said the country of Lesotho is faced with a huge challage of poverty and agriculture may be the main solution to this problem.
She addressed her joy for young people who are involved in agriculture in Lesotho. She further said that it would help this nation to have youth leading in the elevation of food supply and eradicating poverty. She encouraged the recipients to use the funds for what they are assigned for.
â€œDo not buy cars with this money I urge you to use it for the development of your businesses,â€ she said.
To succeed in these projects Makhala encouraged them to seek help anytime they face challenges.
Mathabiso Masheane the newly contracted beneficiary gave thanks to the government of Lesotho for the opportunity granted to them to grow in agro-business. She said this is a lifetime opportunity that is going to change their lives and the lives of those around them. She made a promise that all the funds shall be allocated to what they have been granted for.
The SADP (2) programme is sponsored by the World Bank, IFAD, WORLD BANK, the people of Japan together with the government of Lesotho. The ceremony was closed with the establishing of the SADP website where farmers will get services 24 hours.