Maseru, Feb. 08 — The government has bought 4, 000 tons of fertilizer for winter cropping and will soon be available in the country.
This was disclosed by the Prime Minister, Mr. Ntsokoane Matekane when responding to issues raised by farmers during his meeting with them held in Maseru on Thursday with the objective to discuss food production issues and share ideas on what the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition could do to promote food production as well as to share achievements, challenges and map the way forward.
Mr. Matekane added that preparations for the import of 10,000 tons of fertilizer from Europe for summer cropping are underway, saying fertilizer will be imported from Europe because they realised that the country engages in summer cropping at the same time with South Africa and it is difficult to get fertiliser on time.
He added that the government is trying to establish the manure plant in the country, saying COVID-19 taught the nation a lesson and has to provide for itself.
He noted that there are 488 000 hectares in the country that could be ploughed thus there is need to provide food for the nation before exporting it to other countries.
“I have been approached by two countries which want us to provide them with maize, sorghum and wheat,” he said, reminding farmers that there is market for their produce in the country mentioning, Lesotho Correctional Service, Disaster Management Authority, Ministry of Education and Training as well as Lesotho Defence Force as some of them.
He therefore urged farmers to engage in farming, work jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture and take advantage of the 30 percent subsidy in financing farm machinery for the economic development of the country.
On the other hand, the Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition Mr. Thabo Mofosi acknowledged that there were challenges faced regarding combine harvest machines during wheat.harvesting.
He said such challenges were due to farmers who plough at fields near the dongas as well as muddy fields due to rain.
He therefore said there is a need to revise time for planting wheat to avoid harvesting it on rainy days.
Meanwhile the government has ploughed 278,000 hectares for food grains and the intention is to plough 360 000 hectares in the next financial year, 2024\2025.
Reports indicate that 60,000 Basotho are experiencing hunger and poverty.