Entrepreneur decides to employ 10 destitute men

’MASENTLE MAKARA

MASERU - The CEO of MF Holdings has hired 10 destitute people on his farm in Sehlabeng sa Thuathe. Thaele officially launched operations at his farm last Saturday by spreading organic manure in his fields where his employees were present. Being the capital city and only big town in Lesotho, Maseru is overpopulated because of urban migration

Nationwide, Lesotho faces the challenge of a high unemployment rate for both educated and uneducated youths, while the capital Maseru’s population continues to swell due to rural-urban migration. As a result many come to the city nursing huge dreams of breaking the cycle of poverty in their family only to wind up jobless and homeless in Maseru.

If one passes by the main traffic circle in the CBD, one will notice hoardes of men braving the chilly winter weather looking for someone to hire them. “The main objective to venture in farming is to create jobs for Basotho, especially youths,” Thaele said. The farm covers about 82 000 square metres and is intend to grow cabbage, carrots, and beetroot in addition to about 10 dairy cows on this farm.

The farm will be managed by Thaele’s sister, who is an agriculture expert. “Besides the fact that blood is thicker than water, I also believe family is more loyal, so I decided to put my sister, who is an expert in agriculture, to supervise the workers on the farm,” he said. Thaele said agriculture is very vital in the economic growth of the country adding there is a market for agricultural products and he carried out a pilot study before embarking on this business.

“I bought land and I know in a maximum of two years the project will start paying back the capital.” Thaele said he believes in agriculture and that over 10 000 jobs can be created through it. “I am yet to buy more land for agricultural purposes and I wish Basotho could sell more land to me. These days people are building houses on fields and it means within a short time we will have no arable land on which to grow crops which would push us to import more. So this should stop,” Thaele said.

He said Basotho should emulate King Moshoeshoe 1 who set a good example of land usage by building their house on the mountains while reserving lowlands for farming. Thaele also said he values employees a lot, which is why he ensured they fully participated during the launch of the farming project.

“Had it not been because of my employees, I would not be where I am today with my businesses. The capital I generated to enable me to buy this farm was because of them so I owe it to them to get to where I am.” All the employees from MF Holdings gathered at Sehlabeng where they spread organic manure on the farm as part of team building since the company has different offices.

MF holdings is a group of companies, including a MF Finance, a filling station and an agricultural farm. Asked why he decided to employ destitute people, Thaele said, “I want to bring hope to the hopeless. Those people are mostly rejected in our society so I just want to change their lives; I employed about 10 of them.”

“The men came from their different districts countrywide to look for jobs and unfortunately when they could not find jobs they became, well, I don’t have a decent name for them but they are known as Mekoao (vagabonds).” Asked whether how he got funding to buy fields, he said, “It is very challenging to get some credit from our financial institutions so I had to raise all the capital.”

He said he got his love for agriculture from both his parents since his father used to be a smallholder farmer who reared dairy cows and also planted crops. Every day after school, his father would send him go round the village selling milk to raise money for his transport fare to school. When the vegetables were ready for the market, Thaele’s father would also ask him to sell from one household to another, which is how his mentality for working hard was nurtured.

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