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Lesotho attempts to scale-up beef production

July 27, 2020 3 min read

3 min read

MASERU – The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in collaboration with Kerchin consultancy recently held a virtual conference to establish possibilities of setting up a meat production farm in Lesotho.

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.

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The ministry further notes there is a lack of accredited abattoirs, with most meat being supplied through informal slaughter facilities. Apart from a few isolated instances, neither export nor import of beef takes place, and there is limited capacity in the pork production value chain.

This situation looks set to change, with the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC), also, presently finalising plans for a large integrated piggery project, having sealed a deal with South African company Number Two Piggeries. The corporation is also involved in a project to scale-up the production of beef.

Making up approximately 62 percent of agricultural GDP, the livestock subsector in the country comprises primarily cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry. Cattle are raised mainly for subsistence, draught power, milk, fuel (dung) and meat, while pigs are reared solely for food. Sheep are kept for meat production and wool as well as hide production with goats a source of meat as well as mohair and hides.

Livestock farming – in particular wool and mohair – has been singled out as one of the country’s most important value chains. The success of the project is also pinned on the management of Lesotho’s rangelands as imperative for supporting livestock development and the production of red meat, hides, wool and mohair. Well-managed rangelands also help to protect wetlands and recharge water resources.

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