Maseru, April 11 — Some of the crop farmers cry foul over what they describe as delay in availability of farming input and the rainy season which contribute in delay in engaging in winter cropping in the country.
One of the crop farmers Mr. Motlohi Sekoala told the Agency on Monday that April is the final month for winter cropping but that there is still no farming input such as seeds and fertilisers available to the crop farmers to start the winter cropping.
However, he urged the crop farmers not to surrender but to soldier on under the circumstances saying ‘farming is a profession of hope’.
“As crop farmers we only put the seeds in the soil hoping that they will germinate and grow until harvest time,” he explained.
He therefore appealed to the crop farmers to stop complaining about the rain and farming season being fast running out saying they should do what they can afford and stop complaining.
Mr. Sekoala confessed that the winter farming season was fast running out but appealed to those who can afford to select fields in a sloppy area which do not hold water in order to avoid the crops being trapped by the water or the fields not being plough able due to being wet.
He said the God has His own reasons for letting a lot of rainfall and that the crop farmers should also go to the fields to prepare the soil for planting peas and wheat while still expecting the Government to play its part of making the farming inputs accessible.
When approached for comment Chief Information Officer from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition Mr. Lereko Masupha differed with the farmers that April is the last month for winter ploughing.
He explained that in the lowlands districts starting in Botha Bothe to Quthing the winter crop farming starts in April up to June in order for wheat and peas to be planted so that they will be harvested in time to allow summer cropping.
Mr Masupha therefore appealed to the crop farmers to go to the fields in their numbers saying they should engage in block farming in order to reduce costs.
He also urged the farmers to select the fields which are easily accessible by road in order for the harvesting combiners to reach their fields easily during harvest time.
However, he said those individual farmers who do not need combine harvesters’ assistance could also go out to plough their fields as groups or individuals as they will use sickles for wheat harvesting.
Furthermore, he pointed out that the Ministry began distributing farming inputs to the districts last week in order to meet the farmers halfway.
He stated that the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition will make an official announcement soon as to when the fertilisers and seeds will be sold to farmers at subsidised prices for winter farming.
The farmers are expected to plant between 10 to 20 hectares for block farming.
The Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition has been allocated M1.2 Billion for this financial year alone which is the first time ever.