The agreement was announced by the Sub Committee Chairperson Mr. Chalane Phori who is the Minister of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing. He said the Committee had last week met with the NWMGA and negotiated farmers that they should bring the wool and mohair at the Thaba Bosiu Wool Centre in Maseru and start trading locally. He said the government through the Ministry of Small Business Development introduced the wool and mohair regulations 2018 to facilitate trading of wool and mohair in the country so that those who bring the wool and mohair at the centre can benefit more by trading locally than when they transport them to Port Elizabeth, South Africa to a broker with their own expenses.
He clarified that the regulations are intended to also create jobs locally as well as to cut the costs of transporting the wool and mohair with huge expenses. Minister Phori pointed out that the government through the implementation of the regulations had no intention whatsoever to stop Basotho from trading wool and mohair but the government wanted to ensure that it protects the businesses such as the one in question to earn more profits on their products. He said last year the sale of wool and mohair was piloted at the Thaba Bosiu Wool and Mohair Centre and it went on smoothly and it has been observed that the centre can work towards the interest of Basotho.
The Minister of Development planning Mr. Tlohelang Aumane after sharing the same sentiments added that the Ministry is planning to provide scholarships to Basotho to be trained on issues related to wool and mohair so that they can assist with their skills to improve trading of wool and mohair at the centre. He said since the wool and mohair growers started to bring their products at the centre, there are people from the Thaba Bosiu area who have been employed at centre.
Mr. Aumane said the issue of wool and mohair is one of those close to his heart as his parents and relatives have been engaged in the wool and mohair production hence it is high time the government should protect their business through implementation of the regulations which amongst others is intended to create jobs for the citizenry and assist farmers to earn more profits for the economic growth of the country. Also speaking was the Chairperson of the NWMGA Mr. Mokoenehi Thinyane confirmed that the wool centre in Thaba Bosiu belongs to them and that they have agreed with the government to start taking the wool and mohair at the centre for trading to commence.
He said the centre is their own baby but they had disagreements with their Chinese partner who even took the association to the courts of law but lost the case.
Mr. Thinyane they are prepared to take the wool and mohair and he was quick to say some of them have already started bringing them at the centre where auction date will be announced in due course. One of the participants Mr. Mohlalefi Moteane said he does not understand the way the government wants to operate with the wool and mohair growers and that the government should allow Basotho to export the produce from the sheep and goats. He said Port Elizabeth is the exchange place for the whole world in as far as trading of wool and mohair is concerned and that he does not understand the whole idea of preventing Basotho to take the wool and mohair there.
One of the National University of Lesotho Lecturers Dr. Maluke Letete asked where research was done before the regulations were developed. He said nowadays the nation is so much divided by politics and that alone has affected initiatives planned towards the development of the country. The wool centre in Thaba Bosiu was constructed last year and just when it was about to operate, the nation saw the wool and mohair growers going to courts of law. Recently they even petitioned the Prime Minister demanding that the regulations should be repealed as they complaint that the government through the regulations has blocked farmers from exporting the wool and mohair to Port Elizabeth.