I HAVE noted with great disappointment, how Selematsela Montši (Executive Director of the Lesotho National Dairy Board) has tried in an article published in the Sunday Express to steer the from the real issue.
In my newspaper submission I did not delve on personalities, and I tried to intimate why dairy farmers want the existing marketing institutional framework out of the dairy industry and he is part of the reason even though
I did not break into that province.
He has demonised Tšenoli on false imputation throughout the text — we smell a rat — what is he hiding?
Tšenoli does not keep measly dairy cows as he claims.
If he insists that Tšenoli’s cows are measly, then it is his fault.
He is the reason that Tšenoli has decided not to deliver milk to the LDP (the oracle of Delphi).
He is the reason Tšenoli has remained a small holder dairy farmer for that period of time until today.
Montši, is the one to spur a small scale dairy farmer like Tšenoli on to a level where he (Tšenoli) in conjunction with others, may own and utilise a dairy plant of their own.
Has his board told him so?
Is he aware that his performance is to be appraised against the above function?
Is this the same person who wants M10 million from public fiscus to be put into hands that have misappropriated +/- M400 000 in only one year with his full knowledge?
How was his grant of M1.5 million utilised for refurbishment of the dairy plant?
Government has to seek full account of the expenditure of that money on the said plant.
In any case, why is there no operational processing plant in Lesotho in spite of that expenditure?
Or is the plant on Denmar’s plant in RSA?
Who really cares to know?
The widely talked about Food Security Policy cannot see the light of day in our dairy industry against the backdrop of current existing rate of drop out by small scale farmers.
Does he not feel ashamed that in Lesotho 23 years on we have not seen one farmer graduating into medium scale commercial farming?
The level at which dairy farmers are looking at the problem supersedes any quibbling over whether the farmer gets +/- M3.00 or M3.68.
Fact of the matter is that M3.68 only appears on the statement as applicable rate; the cost of “offer” is tantamount to transport or delivery cost to LDP (Oracle to Delphi).
This cost is prepaid by the poor dairy farmer and it precedes the cost of sale.
The difference is that the cost of ‘offer’ places the entire risk over the produce on the poor farmer even after delivering milk.
He cannot raise an invoice because there is no sale yet.
This system works against the interests of the farmer; and it is by design.
In RSA milk is collected at farm gate and risk is transferred to collector at that point.
There are cases where, at the end of the month the ‘so called’ buyer of milk at LDP only tells the farmer that he (the buyer) has not paid at the rate of M3.68 because the milk was found, by the buyer, to have less than 3.5 percent butter fat.
Testing is done by the buyer in the absence of the producer. On the numerous occasions we noted that such testing had not been done at all.
From the affixed minutes, it is very clear that there has never been any intention to transfer ownership of the LDP to Lesotho’s small holder dairy farmers.
Denmar, who was originally engaged on contract to deliver processed milk, is to become the director under “Morekisi”.
Denmar has been on the scene at LDP for more than 20 years.
Who can dispute the fact that Denmar is the Director?
How can LNDB, the referee also become the player by taking management position in LDP (Pty) Ltd? How come the dairy farmers associations (from whom shares are expropriated) don’t know of the meeting?
There are very numerous questions that have baffled dairy farmers, around the minutes e.g. “all members were present”.
Who is “all members”?
There has never been an answer to the above question by the attorneys, up to now.
Is the reflected resolution consonant with the original intent and agenda of both Lesotho government and the CIDA?
Is CIDA aware that the direct beneficiary of the plant is Denmar, not the small holder dairy farmer — who have been thrown over the curve?
The dairy farmers associations never possessed legally registered share certificates—contrary to an allegation by Montši.
Farmers also wonder why Denmar operates an office of his own within LDP; and brings into Lesotho his own products — other than dairy products for sale — what sort of trading license does he hold?
TŠELISO Tšenoli is a chairman of the Maapara Kobo Dairy farmers Association