Increasing maize and sorghum productivity

Vol.4, Issue 3

By Maluti Mountain Brewery

In the past 10 to 15 years both sorghum and maize production and productivity have been declining gradually in Lesotho. Accompanied with the changes in the climatic conditions there has been changes in economic growth and social developments that somehow have impacted on the ever declining agricultural production.  However the social responsibility of feeding the nation hasn’t changed, hence the assignment to feed and sustain the nation with adequate food supply still remains pending till this date.  The MMB’s plan to venture into beer production using the locally collected raw materials is not meant to worsen the already escalating problem of food insecurity in the Country.  However the MMB has the social responsibility of ensuring increased production of Maize and Sorghum in Lesotho through the two main avenues; promoting the use of appropriate cultural practices on this grain production and also expanding the maize and sorghum production to the fallowed Lesotho arable land.

A call for increased capital investment in maize and sorghum production

Farming is a business too and has to be treated as such if we are looking at good economic returns from it.  It is high time that famers invest the best of their wealth in farming and with proper planning, as this shall enhance the maize and sorghum production in the fields.  Producing crops with minimum efforts won’t ensure increased good quality of our grains.  To be more specific, it is expected of the farmers to be able to timely secure good quality agricultural inputs for their crop production.  And also to be able to invest on quality labour for field management as this will aid proper field operations upon need.

Managing maize and sorghum crop requires more than common agricultural inputs.  Sometimes for the landless farmers, it may require land rentals and share cropping.  These systems of land ownership can only be seen to existence only if the entrepreneur is willing to pay more for them.

Investing in agricultural education

A willing farmer to win the battle of production needs agricultural education as a key to his victory.  Without a proper, up to-date agricultural education it is impossible to increase the agricultural production, moreover to attain a steady increase in production and productivity with years/seasons.  The main reason for this is that agricultural production systems cannot be inherited from generations to generations.  The agricultural technology itself changes with time to suit the prevailing environmental conditions, including climate, social developments, and economic developments.  Thus a vibrant and vigilant farmer would always strife to be on-top and up-to date in regard to agricultural information pertaining, inputs purchases, current appropriate agricultural technologies and credit facilities.

There are different sources of agricultural information available in Lesotho. Listening to radio programs that are provided by trusted service providers shall help the farmers and prospective farmers improve their knowledge base and also gather new information.  The source of information is always important to consider and asses.  A good source of agricultural information shall always give the quality information that ensures harvest at all times.

Carrying out your own research as a farmer for your specific farm needs shall equip a farmer with good skills.  This kind of research extends as far as on farm pilot plots from library research.  Farmers are also encouraged to carryout farm visits on neighbouring farms, demonstration plots and attending the farmers’ field days.  This simply means that farmers must appreciate that farming challenges and techniques are dynamic, therefore an ignorant farmer, who knows it all is less likely to grow in farming.

Another important key item in agricultural education is full utilization of the available extension services.  The national extension services currently reside with the Ministry of agriculture and Food security.  Apart from this there are other options including the non-governmental organizations that deal with agriculture.  These and many others are the important places where the farmer can always visit and inquire of anything kind of information regarding maize and sorghum production.  There is no farmer that can succeed without agricultural extension service.

 Expansion of agricultural land for maize and sorghum production

When one goes around the country, most of the arable is left fallowed.  There are many reasons why this might be happening; lack of financial support to invest in agriculture; the arable land that is the hands of the incapable people; the arable land that is owned by non-farmers.  The MMB Company through go farming project is targeting this fallowed land for maize and sorghum production.  And hence in its plan, it intends to also recruit willing prospective farmers that it shall guide throughout the production cycle in production of the maize and sorghum crop.  In addition to providing the agronomic guidance through its consultants in collaboration with the available extension, MMB shall also provide the sure secure market for the harvested crop at the good market price.  Thus MMB is calling for the young people especially those with good agricultural background to embark in production of these crops this coming season.  The company is also calling upon the landless to acquire land by any means suitable to them.

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