FARMERS TOLD TO UPGRADE COMMERCIAL FARMING
Thaba Tseka October 10 —The District Administrator Mr. Masheane Raphoolo has told Thaba Tseka farmers to grab the opportunity given by Sustainable Agricultural Development Projects (SADP) to help them upgrade into commercial farming.
This he stated while addressing farmers at Farmers Training Center on Thursday where he said they should not put stumbling blocks forward, but, work hard to achieve their dreams.
He told them that with passion, they will achieve more and had promised to address head on, some of the challenges they have raised such as finding it hard to get the lease.
Speaking at the same gathering, SADP Project Manager Mr. Rets’elisitsoe Pheko pleaded with farmers to take advantage of the opportunity presented to them and embark on commercial farming.
Mr. Pheko told them funding amounting to M950 million has been given to ensure that they help farmers buy shade nets, inputs, poultry, piggery and building of pigpens to mention a few.
However he said for one to qualify, they should be members of registered entities and have companies amongst others.
Mr. Pheko said they give funds from as little as M15,000 to M150,000 for the first category of farmers, M150,000 to M450,000 for second category and M450,000 to a million for the third category.
He said for the first category a farmer is expected to have 20 percent of the money they have requested whilst the rest of the 80 percent comes from SADP. For the second category, farmers are expected to have 30 percent and 70 percent will come from SADP, adding that 60 percent is given to the third category which are expected to bring along their 40 percent.
He said among the other things they need assurance on include owning the land as well as a bank account.
In an interview with Lesotho Farmers Union District Chairperson Mr. Mosala Bereng said since funding had always been a challenge, they are glad to have SADP fund their projects.
He said they are happy that they have been promised to access market for the products which they are going to produce.
Farmers were from all over the district and had also attended the information sharing session organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
Reports indicate that about 867,000 of tomatoes are imported from South Africa each year and that cost the country about M33million.