Maseru, March 22— Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition Mr Thabo Mofosi has promised to increase crop production with the budget allocated to his Ministry by the Members of Parliament in the
National Assembly on Wednesday.
The Minister requested an allocation of M567, 394,199 which was approved by the members.
He said with the allocation, it will allow him to increase the crop and fruit production in the country.
Mr Mofosi also highlighted that the Ministry will continue with seeds and fertilizer subsidy ranging between 70 to 80 percent in order to meet the farmers half way in a bid to increase food production to fight hunger.
“We are also going to produce milk and increase both wool and mohair, poultry, fish and stock products with this budget’ he highlighted.
The Minister stated that his Ministry will also provide the technical know-how with officers from the ministry in order to provide the farmers with necessary farming skills.
Leader of opposition Mr Mathibeli Mokhothu said while he supported that the Minister be given the allocated money, in order to allow him to carry out projects, he demanded to know if the minister will still give farmers subsidy and wanted to know how he would meet the set targets the Minister promised to reach.
He also wanted the Minister to explain the Government’s stake in the recently launched microchip by Prime Minister Mr Ntsokoane Matekane in a bid to fight stock theft in the country
The Minister said the Government has resolved to continue with the subsidy that was given last year and that he would purchase the farming inputs as well as use the expertise already existing within the Ministry to reach the set targets.
About the microchip, the Minister said it was a project between the two ministries of Agriculture, Food Security and that of Local Government, Chieftainship, Home Affairs and Police.
On the other hand, Leader of Basotho Action Party (BAP) Professor Nqosa Mahao expressed his concern about the research made by the National University of Lesotho which produced a sorghum seeds which was weather resistant and also not able to be swallowed by birds, which he said has not been used in the country.
He also challenged the Minister about not investing more into the research and innovation in order to produce home grown skills which will be relevant to the needs of Basotho more than relying on farming inputs exported from other countries which are sometimes harmful and affect harvesting.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition consists of eight departments that include administration, field services, research, Lesotho Agricultural College (LAC) and Marketing among others.