The 18th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of LNWMGA started on the 20th to the 21st August 2018 as this occurs annually in August. This is where all wool and mohair growers from all over the country come together to discuss their progress and address all the challenges they have been facing and to devise techniques on their way forward. This year’s AGM was hosted by Berea district at Mojalefa Lephole Convention Centre, as it has been rotating year by year hosted by different districts.
The meeting was officially opened by the DA of the Berea district John Kome. When addressing what impact the LNWMGA is doing in the country, he pointed out that the wool and mohair sector has a very big share in the economy of the country. The wool and mohair sector employs even more people than the textile industries which hire a vast number of people in the country.
He emphasized that it is only through working together that we can achieve more. He also highlighted the challenges that the sector is facing more especially theft and degradation of pastures and showed that it is only through working together that wool and mohair growers can overcome. That is what the Association has been doing ever since it was started; working together, this is why they are where they are, all together, today.
Furthermore, BKB – General Manager on Wool and Mohair: Isaak Stats and some of his colleagues were also present and they awarded several shearing sheds based on areas where they did best. Three sheds, namely Rapoleboea in Mafeteng, Makoae from Quthing and Semione from Maseru were awarded.
Rapoleboea received two awards for best obtained price of 2018 and best classed wool clip while Makoae received an award for the best micron and Semione received an award for best clean.
Moreover, the assembly through Dr Lehloenya from the department of Livestock addressed the issue of Anthrax that was reported in some cases this year. The doctor emphasised on the danger of Anthrax and how it can be transmitted to human beings.
Reports over previous years and even those derived from interviews with certain wool and mohair growers, have shown that theft is one of the greatest challenges the sector is facing.
What is even more tormenting is that it is very hard or nearly impossible to find the stolen stock since they are often transported to South Africa.
As a result, some measures have been undertaken and this year, LNWMGA has been privileged by the attendance of a company that specialises in finding lost and stolen animals. Farm Tracker company uses the newest and fast evolving technology that uses trackers as a form of security for animals. In addition, the AGM had to end with a march whereby farmers had to send their petition to the Prime Minister.
However, the Association did not manage to go through with this, instead, only few members of the Association submitted the letter to the Prime Minister’s office.
The purpose of the petition was to plead with the Prime Minister that the Wool and Mohair Marketing and Trading Regulation of 2018 should be withdrawn.
This failure of the march came as a result of a letter from the Lesotho Mounted Police Service on the 22nd August 2018, urging the Association to find a different date for the march due to a national reforms meeting that was going to take place on the 23rd August, of which the attendants included President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Based on the fact that a lot of money was spent on preparations for the march and the urgency of the contents of the letter, the house was advised by Chief Masupha Seeiso to cancel the march all together.
It must be noted that Chief Masupha Seeiso was furthermore not for the march at all, but believed that the letter could be sent to the Prime Minister without a march, that could be interpreted otherwise.
In conclusion, it seems the major challenge facing the wool and mohair growers is the passing and implementation of the Regulation on Wool and Mohair Marketing and Trading of 2018 that has been quoted in our previous issues.
This issue was currently of utmost concern to the farmers at the AGM of 2018 and most probably still is at the moment because the Regulation has now been passed in Parliament.
Most of the wool and mohair growers seemed to be in anticipation that maybe after this AGM, things will take a different direction and most particularly that the Prime Minister will take heed to their concern, but all was thus far in vain.
It has been four months now since the shearing of mohair has been done and mohair growers have not sold their fibre yet, and we can just imagine the impact that this has on the people whose income is solely from the fibre.