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Mohair auction a success, ministry says

Oct. 10, 2019 4 min read

MASERU – The Director of the Ministry of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing Lekhooe Makhate says the mohair auctioning by the Maluti Wool and Mohair Centre has shown signs of success that localisation of the produce processing and marketing can be independent in Lesotho.

The auction was held on Monday by the centre in Masianokeng on the outskirts of Maseru. Maluti Wool and Mohair Centre is one of the five companies that were granted wool and mohair brokerage licences by the Ministry of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing in August. 

Wool and mohair trade has caused uproar in the country following the enactment of Agricultural Marketing (Wool and Mohair Licensing) Regulations 2018. Mr Makhate said during the auction, the highest price for a kilogram of good mohair was worth over M300 while the lowest price for a kg was around M35.

He said on average, one kg of mohair cost between M100 and M200. Commending the event on its unprecedented success, Mr Makhate described the prices fetched as impressive, adding that showed good prospects for the product in the market. “We were invited by the centre to come and observe how the mohair was being auctioned as the responsible the ministry,” Mr Makhate said, adding they previously held another auction with had done the Thaba-Bosiu Wool Centre which is run by Stone Shi of Maseru Dawning. 

Part of their duties including observing whether or not the Maluti Wool and Mohair Centre had all the necessary systems in place to get it up and running. The centre was granted a brokering and auctioning license and has partnered with the South African based brokers, BKB for technical support in auctioneering.

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Mr Makhate said the farmers also had the opportunity to observe how the mohair was auctioned. “The prices were fair. The farmers personally saw how the auction was carried out,” he said. He added that the company would pay its taxes to the government of Lesotho and thereby boost the economy of the country.

“The auction was specifically for the mohair sale, in future, we will auction the wool.  “Now that the sheep are just being shed, we hope that in the nearest future, the wool will also be auctioned with similar success,” he said.  He said the government was generally pleased with both the auction and the company that conducted the auction.  The Director of Corporate Affairs of the Maluti Wool and Mohair Centre Lehlohonolo Matee also shared similar sentiments about the success of the auction. 

Mr Matee was hopeful that the farmers would be paid within 21 days after the auction. “We are just a brokering company. We classify the mohair and prepare it for the auction,” he said, adding that they were also destined to ferry it to market in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and in Europe. The Maluti Wool and Mohair Centre he also said had gained massive support after making an announcement to the farmers about the auction, urging them to take their produce for auctioning.  He said they were able to auction about 1001 bales of mohair which made 175 lots. “We are still at the beginning of the journey. If we have problems we would surely inform the farmers. So far so good,” Mr Matee said.

He said there was a good turnover of the farmers but he was still preparing the statistics at the time of going to print last night. Some Members of Parliament (MPs) also attended the auction. “I think the MPs also showed up so that they could have a personal feel of how the mohair is auctioned,” Mr Matee said. Although he was hopeful of holding another auction soon, he could however not be drawn to specify whether it would be for wool or mohair. 

Farmers in their big numbers, representatives of the shearing sheds and farmers’ groups in different districts who attended the auction expressed their satisfaction although they were quick to add they were yet to see how the new broker would process their payments after they were hit badly by delayed payments by the Thaba-Bosiu based broker in the last year seasons.

Some said they were still owed money by Lesotho Wool Centre and thus they chose to take their mohair to Masianokeng to see if things would be different this time around. Present at the auction were also the Minister of Small Business Development Chalane Phori, the new Minister of Forestry Tefo Mapesela and senior government officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, especially from the Livestock department.

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