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Agribusiness short courses equip small-scale farmers

Bereng Mpaki

AGRIBUSINESS Network Lesotho, a local agricultural training and marketing institute, has introduced short courses for prospective commercial farmers.

According to the managing director of Agribusiness, Daniel Polihali, the seven-week short courses are held during weekends to cater for those who may be busy with other commitments during week days.

Mr Polihali said the short courses are meant to equip new farmers with skills and enhance knowledge for those who are already in farming.

He said the first batch of trainees by the organisation has already graduated and more are anticipated to enrol as the courses are popular with small scale farmers.

“A lot of people who have capital to start agricultural businesses such as crop production, poultry, piggery, cattle and other smallholder animal farming lack knowledge and, as a result, they fail or collapse,” Mr Polihali said.

“They can be office workers, teachers, factory workers or people running other businesses but want to supplement their income by venturing into agriculture. These seven-week courses that are held on a part-time basis with a weekly attendance of 10 hours, will help them start and manage their farms.”

He further said the courses will assist the candidates to grow their businesses so that they can compete locally and globally as their farms will meet the standards required by the market. He also said the courses are open for all people regardless of their age or qualifications.

“I believe the economy of our country can be enhanced radically if all our people can acquire the skills of how to do things the right way, minimising the risk of getting into farming. People with money will obviously be willing to invest knowing that the farmers have the technical knowhow of such projects. This is unlike the statusquo when most of our farmers have little or completely no knowledge but just zeal. However, they end up being demoralised due to huge losses,” Mr Polihali said.

The courses include: introduction to agribusiness; piggery farming; dairy farming; beef production; poultry production; hatchery management; aquaculture and fisheries; rabbit farming; horticulture; fundamentals of maize production, introduction to plant production and others that can be tailor-made according to requirements.

Also offered are agricultural business management courses in project management; supply chain management and animal welfare; and biosecurity.

“The seven-week courses cost only M5 500 per subject and we have experts who will guide our participants all the way up to the end. Certificates are given at the end of the course.

“Those interested in enrolling for our courses can contact Agribusiness Network Lesotho at their offices situated at DLM Complex Khubetsoana,” Mr Polihali said.

Agribusiness Network Lesotho is an agricultural and commercial company incorporating suppliers and consumers among others that was formed in 2017. It aims to empower Basotho by sourcing markets for their various agricultural produce through its local market database.

It also has outreach programmes and workshops for small holder businesses.

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