business

Aug. 30, 2021

STAFF REPORTER

3 min read

Farmers happy with agricultural subsidy

Farmers happy with agricultural subsidy

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Likopo Mahase

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FARMERS have welcomed the government's decision to subsidise summer cropping on seeds and fertilisers with 60 percent in a bid to boost food security in order to fight poverty and hunger in the country.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Likopo Mahase on Friday advised farmers to take advantage of the subsidy and start cultivating their fields in full force.

He said they should make better use of the moisture left by the recent torrential rains.

He however, noted that only farmers who have contracts with the government will be able to get the farming inputs in Ha Foso, Butha-Buthe, Maputsoe and Mohale's Hoek.

The rest of the farmers, he said will get seeds and fertilisers from local traders at stipulated prices.
He further urged the farmers to visit nearest health centres to get their respective COVID-19 jabs, blaming the pandemic for the poor harvest in the last farming season.

A crop farmer from Machache in Maseru, Tlotlisang Sefali said while he appreciates the government's initiative, he however, questions the decision to make the seeds and fertilisers available to them only on Wednesdays.

“It feels like the government is putting the cart before the horse, which is not necessary for proper time management,” he said.

But another Maseru farmer, Motlohi Sekoala commended the government for the subsidy, saying the resolution will go a long way towards promoting food security.  

However, he felt that the government should have also included cultivation costs in the subsidy, showing that only a few farmers own machinery.

He said the other farmers who do not have the equipment are largely compromised and therefore need assistance urgently.

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He believes that the government’s dream of improving food security will not be readily realised given that the majority of farmers do not own proper farming implements.

Mr Sekoala said the government still owes some farmers for using their machinery in the last season, adding that if they are not paid on time, they will not easily get involved in the current summer cropping.

Timing, he said is of essence in farming, hence if the farmers will only have access to the seeds and fertilisers on Wednesdays, they will end up being late for the summer cropping.

“Besides, it means farmers will gather in huge numbers at the selling points, defeating the call for physical distancing as a way of combating the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. LeNA

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