Farmers’ awards to take place in September



MASERU – The Farmers’ Pitso has grabbed the mantle for recognising the country’s farmers and agricultural enthusiasts for their hard work and dedication towards improving their lives as well as the country to reduce food insecurity, along with poverty and hunger. The farmers’ group will this year hold its third awards ceremony for farmers to acknowledge their hard work and dedication towards farming. The award ceremony will be held on September 9.

This is an annual ceremony hosted on the first weekend of August, however, this year it was postponed to September due to unforeseen circumstances. In an interview with Public Eye this week, Farmers Pitso co-founder, Tlaba Mochebelele, said they started hosting the awards back in 2019, with the 2020 and 2021 edition postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns.

He said they are inspired to change the standard of farming within the sector in Lesotho. Mochebelele said the award ceremony is open for every sector in the farming industry and open to farmers from the 10 districts of Lesotho. “We celebrate them for the effort they are doing of feeding the nation. We are giving them the exposure they deserve and also making them be known for easy marketing of their products. The awards ceremony was proposed to be on August 6 but due to complications regarding the venue, we had to postpone to September.

“We have 20 categories running for votes which include vegetable production, processing, potato productions, dairy goats’ production, beekeeping, orchards and botany, piggery production, free range poultry, agriculture extension officers in both vegetable and poultry, agric-information, dog breeders, sheep and goats farming, broiler production, layer production, rabbit farming, as well as mixed farming,” he said.

Mochebelele further noted that the winners will receive trophies, and more prizes will be announced by sponsors during the event. He said the procedure to be followed when voting for the nominees is by paying through a merchant and a unique code will be given to each farmer as reference.

He also disclosed that they are planning to have a Farmers Mall where farmers will have their products displayed or exhibited for buyers. There will also be food tasting and some information desks to improvise their awards going forward. Among other things, he said, some of the challenges that they encountered in the previous ceremony which include finding sponsors because they were not yet a registered entity.

He outlined the successes of the event. Farming for most farmers was positively impacted and they become known therefore, he said, marketing became easy for them which contributed to good sales. On the other hand, agriculture extension officer and seedlings producer from Khanyane in Leribe, ’Mampho Malefane, told this publication that the awards ceremony will bring about a very huge and positive impact on farmers as this will assist them in finding their footing in farming as well as the enthusiasm to continue every day.

She said it is important for farmers to have this kind of motivation so as to put more effort in order for their country to be food secured as well as to give them the determination to start their own businesses in order to reduce the high unemployment rate. In supporting farmers in Lesotho, the government is implementing the Smallholder Agriculture Development Project II (SADP II) with financial support from the World Bank, the government of Japan and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The project covers the 10 districts of the country. The project’s vision is to introduce transformational changes in the agriculture sector by promoting solutions for agricultural productivity and resilience at farm and landscape levels.

The ultimate goal is to provide longer-term solutions at institutional level to ensure the sustainability of the outcomes achieved in the field as well as to promote better nutritional outcomes towards improved human capital development.

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