Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili on Thursday said government was going to inject M40 million into the Wool and Mohair Promotion Project (WAPP).
Dr Mosisili made the announcement after the launch of the WAPP in Teyateyaneng (TY).
WAPP is bankrolled by the government, International Fund for Agricultural Development, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund for International Development and Lesotho National Wool and Mohair Growers Association (LNWMGA).
“I am proud of the progress the wool and mohair sector has made so far. These people are not lazy bones waiting for the government to feed them. They are doing something to improve their lives and I am proud of them,” Dr Mosisili said.
“On top of that, the government has invested M40 million into this project and this shows our support for this sector. Government is further going to attach workers from relevant ministries to this project to ensure its success.”
He commended the LNWMGA for its massive contribution to the country’s economy, pointing out that during the 2014/15 financial year alone, the organization realized M250 million in profits.
“They are not only contributing big money towards this country’s economy but have employed so many people and we are grateful for that because government alone cannot employ everyone. The government does not have the muscle to do so and it has never happened anywhere in the world,” Dr Mosisili said.
The premier however, said it was government’s responsibility to create an enabling environment for businesses to grow and create job-opportunities.
He also encouraged the youth to consider going into the wool and mohair business.
“Immediately after graduating, they must come up with viable business ideas and government will meet them halfway by negotiating with banks for loans so that they can run farming businesses,” Dr Mosisili said.
On livestock farming, Dr Mosisili said the government had already made progress in promoting the industry.
“The government has just signed a Memorandum of Understanding with one of the biggest companies in China. This company is going to create jobs in the meat market with the aim of selling local meat in China.
“China has one of the biggest populations in the world and there is an open market for meat in that country. I must also mention that Lesotho’s wool and mohair are being sold in China and I strongly believe with this new deal, it will even be easier for us to export these products to China,” he said.
On the other hand, Dr Mosisili applauded Home Affairs Minister Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane and his South African counterpart Malusi Gigaba for creating a conducive environment for goods and services at the border.
Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security Knowledge Management Officer, Phamola Lebotsa, said the goal of the project as to boost the economic and climatic resilience of poor, smallholder wool and mohair producers.
“The project further seeks to enable smallholder livestock producers to generate higher incomes and more sustainable livelihoods, as well as increasing their ability to cope with and recover from natural shocks,” Mr Lebotsa said.
The programme, he added, was divided into three components meant to address the many challenges farmers face.
Mr Lebotsa further said the climate-smart rangeland management component of the project would give farmers invaluable information for rangeland protection.
“We must understand that for livestock farmers to thrive in business, their animals must be in good condition and without rich rangeland, this cannot be achieved as most of them don’t have the luxury of buying feed for them.”
He said WAPP was also going to ensure improved livestock production, management, nutrition and breeding.
The project, he added, would also equip farmers with skills on wool and mohair marketing, value chain-based enterprise enhancement and promotion of livestock auctions and district slaughter slabs.