business

Aug. 15, 2021

STAFF REPORTER

3 min read

Farmers urged to take advantage of early rains

Farmers urged to take advantage of early rains

High quality potatoes produced in Lesotho

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DIRECTOR of Crops in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Mofihli Motšetšero has appealed to farmers to take full advantage of the early torrential rains by preparing soil as well as securing both seeds and fertilisters in preparation for summer cropping.

He said based on the Lesotho Meteorological Services (LMS) recent weather focus, which had predicted normal and below normal rainfall from August to March next year, they were of the view that the rains would only come in October.
However, he said now that the early showers arrived in August, it means the farmers should take full advantage by tilting the soil, especially in the lowlands, adding that they should ensure that they have enough seeds and fertilisers in their stores.
“The farmers in the lowlands should prepare to plant maize, sorghum and beans while those in the highlands should be ready to plant wheat, peas and potatoes,'' he said.

Mr Motšetšero, however, said production of vegetables such as cabbages, tomatoes and green peppers should also be an alternative to avoid relying on imports from the neighbouring South Africa.

''We have arable land and moisture as well as manpower to produce our own crops and vegetables in order to ensure that the little money that we have circulates in the country,'' he said.

He warned the farmers not depend on government subsidy in order to get farming inputs such as seeds and fertilisers, saying that should only happen only after severe droughts or flooding and not under normal circumstances.
He said for vegetable production, the farmers should build shade nets or green houses for use during the dry seasons, adding that the ministry has already formulated a National Irrigation Master plan aimed at assisting the farmers in such trying times.
 

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He highlighted the need for the country to take production of potatoes seriously due to its high altitude coupled with high temperatures, saying the climate is conducive for producing quality potatoes that are free of diseases.
He said the farmers could also consider production of potato seeds under the supervision of extension officers from the ministry.

For his part, President of the Basotho Agricultural and Machinery Association (BAMA), Motlohi Sekoala said as much as they welcome the current rainfall, there are no farming inputs at the Ha Foso government store where they always keep inputs like seeds and fertilisers.
He therefore appealed to the ministry to ensure that the farmers get the farming inputs early in order to avoid being caught ill-prepared. LeNA

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