Second WAMPP auction a success story

‘MAKERESEMESE LETUKA

MASERU – The most expensive auctioned Merino Ram sold at the annual Wool and Mohair Promotion Project (WAMPP) public sale at the Quthing Sheep Stud fetched M30 000 this week. This was the second WAMPP auction of high yield Merino rams and ewes sold to local famers to increase access for Basotho wool producers to improved genetics which in turn contributes to improved production and productivity.

Approximately 300 sheep were sold, over 120 rams and over 80 ewes with over 80 stud rams due for replacement with 132 lots. The first auction was held last year, where 37 animals were sold under the hammer; the highest price ram went for M16 900. Speaking at the auction the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Tefo Mapesela, said he was satisfied with the quality of the animals he saw at the event.

He said the sheep were of high quality that he wished all would leave the auction with what they had hoped to get. In his remarks Mapesela ventured into the controversial issue the sale of wool and mohair saying “I also have asked District Agricultural Officers to compile lists of all those farmers that claimed to have not been paid in 2018 so that they receive their payments. It is high time that we stop taking our wool and mohair to South Africa for sale, we must sheep it straight to China.”

For his part, development planning minister Selibe Mochoboroane said: “Among the projects funded by the World Bank this is one of the most successful projects, that says even if the Bank withdraws from the project we can still be able to operate because I can see sustainability.”

Under WAMPP, there are two breeding centers, one in Quthing and another in Mokhotlong which have been transferred to the Lesotho National Wool and Mohair Growers’ Association (LNWMGA) under a twenty-year sub-lease agreement.

The two breeding centres will continue to supply Merino rams and ewes even after the project concludes in 2022. “It is my plea that after buying from the auction you should go and take care of these sheep as much as they were taken care of here so that they can breed and produce high quality,” said Principal Chief of Quthing Seeiso Nkuebe.

The Livestock Manager at WAMPP, Ntai Lepheana, said the reason they try as much as possible to produce high quality Merino rams and ewes is to reduce the number of Basotho buying from South Africa – to limit VAT and travelling costs while also maximizing both quality and quantity.

“We have planted yellow maize on the communities’ fields of the community with yellow maize and fodder and are processing them with added supplements in order to prevent diseases; but our biggest challenge is deteriorating rangelands and the fact that the market is still recovering slowly from COVID-19 pandemic. People have not able to buy as much as they would have wanted today,” said Lepheana.

On behalf of the farmers that were able to buy ‘Maliketso Mokhethi from Semonkong said she attended the auction buy the best high quality ram because she already has 100 sheep and she wants them to breed high quality lambs.

“I failed to get one ram that I had set my eyes on because I didn’t have the M15 100 asking price to beat one of the farmers I was competing with; but I was very impressed with the production were have as a country. That says there won’t be a need to cross the border anymore to get quality,” she added.

WAMPP works with smallholder wool and mohair producers to improve the quantity and quality of these fibers that is produced in Lesotho. It is funded by the government of Lesotho, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) and the Lesotho National Wool and Mohair Growers’ Association (LNWMGA).

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