Some of the winning rams at the show.
Writes : ‘Makarabo Mats’umunyane
In the midst of all the hardships, hunger, strife, drought and opposition we still find a way to make it through it all. Lesotho National Wool and Mohair Growers Association (LNWMGA) is still holding up its values and standards up to now and it has hosted what has been deemed a successful event regardless of the long fight they have been fighting and are still continuing to fight. The opening event of all districts farmer’s days was hosted at Mokhotlong sheep stud where a total of 450 farmers, 746 Merino sheep and 304 Angora goats participated in the show. Excitement and keenness was seen all over the attendants’ faces as each was eager to know what level his/her flock has achieved this season. Whistles, songs, ululating and voices were heard all over the show grounds as an expression of how much pleasure and joy this event brings to Merino and Angora keepers. The event resumed by grouping and letting different age groups, gender types and the fibre type (medium or fine wool) of the small stock into the show ground where they were being examined and graded each on the qualities it possesses in comparison to the others in the competition.
One of the members of the panel of judges said that they look at many different features that make an animal productive in terms of wool quality and consistency, productivity, fertility and anatomy of the animal in general. The examined factors included fibre microns (medium or fine wool), posture of the hind legs, and genitals in rams to test fertility and productivity.The three top most Associations when it comes to small stock improvement were Moremoho Wool and Mohair Growers Association (WMGA), Makhapung WMGA and Sanqebethu WMGA based on the points they scored in the show. One of the farmers ‘Malehloenya, the wife of Mabilikoe Mahao of Moremoholo who scored the highest points in the sheep show said she and her family work so hard to maintain their flock and make the best of it since keeping livestock is their sole employment, thus they depend on its production for income. On the contrary to these good activities, what surprised most of the farmers who attended the show was the absence of the Minister of Agriculture and Food security or any of the highest officers in the self-same Ministry.
Show grounds crowded with people and livestock
Under the prevailing situation, we wonder what led to them not attending the show which they were invited to and which they normally attend. Furthermore, most of the farmers were also frustrated by seeing heavily armed Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) officers at the show grounds. It was later revealed that the police officers were only there for security as there were speculations that some people wish to disrupt and ruin the whole show. It is said that it was the first time ever in the history of the wool and mohair industry in Lesotho where armed police attended the show. Speculations point out that there are some in the government who wished to sabotage the show if the judging panel consisted of member from one South African Company that used to compose the panel in the past. Nevertheless, the show was sponsored by two local banks, Post Bank and Standard Lesotho Bank which also had gifts to offer to the winners as a way of encouraging them to improve even more in the wool and mohair industry.
The rural community is mostly composed of “unemployed” men and women whose employment is taking care of livestock and tilting the soil. It is a sad thing that these people have to suffer at the hands of the government which is literally in power because of the same people who casted their votes for them. It has been a great show and will still believe it will be great in other districts as the show will circulate in each of the other nine districts. Let all Basotho nation support the upcoming shows as well as the approaching National Show where all districts will participate.