According to the principal livestock development officer, Matšepo Mohai, the conference was based on the feasibility study that the ministry undertook regarding red meat production, as agriculture is identified as the priority in economic growth under National Development Strategic Plan (NSDP) II. She said the study will help the ministry to make informed decisions on livestock trading, adding that the focus is on beef production.
Mohapi further mentioned that the study was done on the agroecological zone, which represents highlands and lowlands of the country, highlighting that breeding of red meat production will be across the country. As per agreement between the government and the investor, the latter had proposed to slaughter 500 cattle per day for beef production, hence, the feasibility study which aims at establishing if the ministry has capacity to meet the proposed standard of the investor.
Mohapi said the study will also serve as a guide as to how many cattle to be used per day, adding that currently the country cannot produce the 500 as proposed, but the study will pin a way forward.
She said the ministry will purchase breeding cows for the establishment of the breeding centres in the country, adding that farmers will be trained on breeding production and management of such breed. She noted that this project is aimed at changing the livelihoods of Basotho farmers and the economy of the country.
Other stakeholders who attended the meeting were representatives from various government ministries including Development Planning, Finance, Trade and Industry, Small Businesses Development, Cooperatives and Marketing, Home Affairs as well as the private sector, farmers and Kerchin Meat Industry Lesotho (PTY) LTD.
A memorandum of understanding between the Lesotho government and Kerchin Meat Industry Lesotho was signed on April 1, 2019 The Ministry of Agriculture shows that currently beef is the most-consumed source of animal protein in the country followed by pork.