Maseru, Oct. 18 — Some crop farmers are complaining of unavailability of maize seeds at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition stores in the country.
These farmers told the Agency on Wednesday that they were hoping to capitalise on the recent moisture to plant maize but that it is unavailable in the main stores at Ha Foso in Maseru which supplies the rest of the stores countrywide.
Mr. Lehasa Rankoane from Ha Nkhema in the Machache area said the unavailability of maize seeds was a setback as he wanted to take full advantage of the recent moisture to plant maize.
However, he said what is currently available at the stores is fertiliser, saying it does not help matters if the maize seed is not available.
He also complained of time being wasted to come to Maseru only to find that some of the farming inputs are not available.
Mr. Rankoane, who specialises in vegetable production, said he only plants maize for domestic consumption.
For the vegetable production, he said he rents neighbouring fields and supplies Fruits & Veg as well as Pick ‘n Pay stores including local businesses and residents.
Despite all these markets, he complained that sometimes, in a good year when the harvest is good, he still struggles to find enough market and that his produce is wasted due to lack of the market.
While other farmers complain of drought, Mr. Rankoane told the Agency that he has a reliable Liphiring River where he uses its running water for irrigation.
Another crop farmer from Ha Abia in Maseru Mr. Malefane Molieleng also complained that he went to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition hoping to get fertiliser plus maize seeds but was told that there was no maize seeds.
There were other crop farmers who went to the same ministry hoping to pay for the maize seeds but found none and returned back home empty handed.
When approached for comment Chief Information Officer from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition Mr. Lereko Masupha confirmed that there is no maize seeds at the main store at Ha Foso.
He said the reason for unavailability of maize seeds is because the Ministry prioritised taking it into the highlands districts of Mokhotlong, Thaba Tseka and Qacha’s Nek due to their farming season being short.
Mr. Masupha also hinted that the little that was available was finished by the farmers who bought it in large quantities.
He therefore reassured the farmers not to give up saying the farming equipment comes in batches even though he did not want to commit himself by putting the exact date.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition subsidises fertiliser, seeds and sod tilling as part of meeting the farmers half way and encouraging them to produce enough food.