Lesotho farmers explore trade opportunities in Bots

Nteboheleng Mabitso

MASERU – Members of the Young Lesotho Farmers Association are exploring ways of exporting Kalahari Red goats to Botswana.

The Kalahari Red is a breed of goats originating from South Africa. Their name is derived from their red coat and the Kalahari Desert. They are generally reared for meat production.

In an interview, 32-year-old Nthabiseng Hlalele who specialises in horticulture, said Kalahari Red goats are mainly found in South Africa but they have an existing market in Botswana where they are used mainly for meat production.

Therefore, she said, they want to penetrate that market which they discovered during their recent visit in Botswana.

Lesotho farmers keep Merino goats for the production of mohair.

Hlalele said their major task was to raise the capital to buy the goats as currently in Lesotho the government does not subsidise upcoming farmers.

She said they would take the risk and go to banks to borrow capital.

Hlalele said their counterparts in Botswana were better off than them because their government supported youths who want to venture into commercial farming.

The Botswana government helps young farmers with start-up capital, loans, training, subsidies and other resources.

As part of sharing experiences, the Botswana Young Farmers Association are expected to also tour Lesotho in January 2016.

The Young Lesotho Farmers Association was formed two months ago and has about 40 members some of whom undertook the trip to Botswana.

The agriculture sector is of major social and economic importance in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, contributing

between four and 27 percent to Gross Domestic Product and approximately 13 percent of overall export earnings in member states.

About 70 percent of the region’s population depends on agriculture for food, income and employment hence the performance of farming has a strong inf luence on food security, economic growth and social stability in the region.

October 2015
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