It is one of the fundamental values of the Lesotho National Wool and Mohair Growers Association (LNWMGA) that each year there must be shows where farmers are given an opportunity to be evaluated each on the qualities of the flock they are keeping. Unfortunately, last year, there was no show at National level due to the controversial anthrax outbreak. Nevertheless, this year’s National show was a great success and farmers from all over the country participated in the show, though some said they were unprepared for the show due to a number of factors including financial reasons.
The event was graced by the presence of His Majesty King Letsie III and he spoke as an affectionate father to his beloved nation and encouraged farmers not to give in to despair but preserve and continue the premium practices of rearing Merino and Angora amidst the current most trying conditions of the country because by them they are able to sustain both their families and the economy of the Lesotho. He ended by giving charge to the Minister of Agriculture and Food security that he should make it his highest aim to fix the prevalent situation in the wool and mohair industry.
Moreover, there seemed to be a general improvement in the quality of wool and mohair according to the judges. One of the judges; Evan Hartley said that “out of seven places that we do in classing, from number one to number seven, they can all compete in South Africa. You can also tell that the farmers prepare well for the show. Counsel for an ordinary farmer who does not have a lot of financial resources to survive in the mean-time: knowledge and good farming practices with good genetics and good type of sheep and lastly keeping up with modern trends are very important in livestock farming.”
On the other hand, a few weeks ago, Basotho’s blood toiled mohair had been snatched by Stucken and Company (Pty) Ltd from South Africa, a company directed by South African Wool and Mohair buyers Association’s (SAWAMBA) Chairperson Anthony Kirsten. This could be perceived by some as having been through ‘fraudulent dealings’ as he betrayed the cautions he had himself shared in the letter cited 4th July 2018 which he authored as SAWAMBA’s chairman to Lesotho’s Prime Minister Dr Motsoahae Thomas Thabane. In this letter Anthony reprimanded and cautioned the government not to breach of principles of trade long followed without being fully aware of and mitigating the negative implications involved.
However, SAWAMBA on the letter addressed to the Chairman of LNWMGA dated 10th May 2019, stated that as an Organization, it stands by its letter dated 4 July 2018, addressed to the Right Honorable the Prime Minister of Lesotho, as well as its message to the LNWMGA dated 5 July 2018. The letter also stated that SAWAMBA does not interfere in the business activities of its members and as such distances itself from such activities and/or transactions entered into by its members.
Even at this point The Silo team still stands by LNWMGA and support Basotho farmers. We also believe that His Majesty’s voice shall be heard such that this issue should be resolved with the current government and farmers, we still hope that at the end of the day, the farmers will be free to trade their fibre where they get the best possible prices.