The Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition, Mr. Thabo Mofosi says all farming inputs such as seeds, fertilizers will be available in the country in order for farmers to go out to work in the fields.
Speaking at a media briefing held at his boardroom on Wednesday, Mr. Mofosi said they are now running against the summer cropping season which is almost over.
He said the Ministry has already purchased inputs, saying in 10 days’ time, he is expecting seeds, fertilizers and herbicides to arrive in the country.
”We urge farmers to plant hybrid maize seeds before December 15 this year and beans until February next year,” he highlighted.
Mr. Mofosi also urged farmers to identify fields situated in sloppy areas in all the 10 districts in order to avoid plants being waterlogged due to the current heavy rains being experienced in the country.
He said the Ministry has been given a mandate of producing enough food in order to fight poverty and hunger in the country.
However, he feared that this season’s harvest has been adversely affected by rains just like the previous farming season where farmers failed to plough their fields due to fields which had been waterlogged.
The Minister who is also a renowned crop farmer urged farmers to start preparing for the winter cropping, saying ploughing wheat and potatoes as well as sunflower will go a long way in supplementing poor harvesting expected this season.
When asked about the increasing fuel prices if it is not going to be a major stumbling block for summer cropping and what the new government is planning to do to address the challenge, he said the government is only about two weeks old and there is a lot in their table to consider before making any commitments.
He promised that the government is yet to make long-term plans on how farming, in general, should be addressed, saying the media briefing was only about addressing mid-term and short-term challenges.
The Minister said government subsidy will remain unchanged for now but that the distribution of the farming inputs and payment will be delivered in the districts to avoid long queues in Maseru.
He believed that using specific farming equipment like ripper will be good for conservation farming as well as calibration and top-dressing farming methods.
Lesotho is prone to climate change in which late rains disrupt the farming season while severe droughts also affect harvesting.
Source: LENA 23/11/2022