Village vegetable farmer with a difference

RETHABILE MOHONO

MASERU – The fact that he did not progress far in his education did not stop him from dreaming big in life. For those whose lives have been channelled by the misfortunes of the past, little do they appreciate that from a small scale farm, he is making more cash than most people employed in a professional career.

Thabo Makase, is a familiar face to the people of Mahobong and Pitseng taxi-rank passengers. He is among the many Basotho who sell their garden and farm produce at the taxi rank, but what sets him apart from the rest, is his spirit of not giving up, devotion and passion to see his business grow. Makase is a Mahobong born vegetable farmer whose returns are able to generate more than M10 000 per month.

He has been in this business for more than a decade and he not looking back. Speaking to Public Eye earlier this week, Makase said he has been in vegetable farming for quite some time and it has been an awarding for him and his family. Narrating his journey, Makase said after he left school, he knew he was going to add to the high youth unemployment statistics and so he decided to start farming.

“I started vegetable faming and I saw potential for my business to prosper. When I saw this great opportunity, I dedicated all my time and energy into growing my business, thanks God it worked out perfectly,” he said. On an average day, he said he is able to at least sell 40-50 vegetable bundles at a price of M10 per bundle.

“This year business is not that good, that is why I sell only about 40 bundles a day, but in the previous years, I was able to sell up to 80 bundles per day,” he said adding that in a month he makes fairly good cash to sustain his life. Asked how he learnt all his farming skills, Makasa said he is a self-taught farmer. “I try everything that I think it will enhance my business, if it works out good for me I stick to it,” he said.

Although his business is flourishing, he said he still go through challenges like any other farmer. “I have been facing many challenges, but the major one is that of crops drying up due to very hot weather conditions,” he said adding that to solve the problems he constructed small dams that makes irrigation easier. Advising young upcoming farmers, Makasa said business needs hard work and dedication.

“I am always very busy, planting vegetables, watering, harvesting and preparing them for market, and I do this every day without rest,” he said explaining that farming needs someone who is willing to learn. Speaking about being a farmer without agricultural education, Makasa said it is very difficult for him to obtain funds, for him to expand his business.

"Only if the funds could be given to farmers not those with farming ideas or who went all out to study Agriculture, but to people who are passionate and willing to make a difference in farming business,”Makasa said. Due to his flourishing farming business, Makasa said he has been selected to be among farmers who would be visited by the Lesotho Young Farmers Association to motivate and give advises to upcoming farmers in October 4.This is part of the Lesotho government initiatives to encourage young Basotho take self-employment initiatives, which can also create jobs for others.

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