Empowering Smallholder Producers of Wool and Mohair

  1. Seventy-seven (77) Farmers Receive Angora Goats
  2. M20 Million set aside to improve animal Nutrition

The Wool and Mohair Promotion Project (WAMPP) handed over seventy-seven (77) Angora bucks to farmers from Mafeteng, Botha-Bothe and Berea on the 15th February 2021. This is in line with the project’s Culling and Exchange Programme, under which, farmers are encouraged to exchange four low-yielding animals (sheep or goats) for one Merino Ram or Angora buck. With this programme, the project aims to assist farmers to access superior genetics, while also contributing to rangeland improvement by reducing the number of animals on this communal resource. The culled animals are sold by auction to meat traders and caterers.

Under its Livestock Production Management component, the project also assists farmers to improve animal nutrition through fodder production, ration-formulation and silage-making. WAMPP has also supported the establishment of a revolving fund for animal feeds and veterinary drugs. In order to provide additional support, especially to counteract any potential negative effects on nutrition due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has allocated a total of M20 million to the project. WAMPP has used the funds specifically to procure Lucerne, maize and sheep pellets. These are sold to farmers across the country at concessionary prices.

WAMPP works with farmers to improve the quality and quantity of fibre produced. In this regard, nutrition is of paramount importance. Lesotho’s rangelands are over-burdened. One of the components of the project is dedicated to the improvement of rangelands as most farmers rely on these communal resources for the primary feeding of their animals. Smallholder wool-mohair producers are supported to practise supplementary feeding to ensure that their animals produce quality fibre.

WAMPP is a seven-year project that will conclude in 2022. It is therefore important to also consider the sustainability of project outputs. The behavioural change that the project advocates cannot be achieved overnight. For instance, smallholder wool-mohair producers may fail to practice supplementary feeding, partly because of economic reasons, where the input costs of production or that of acquisition of animal feeds are beyond famers’ affordability. Through its interventions, the project, therefore, builds the capacity of farmers to produce their own fodder while also making it easier to afford to buy the finished product, where warranted.

WAMPP’s Project Director, Retšelisitsoe Khoalenyane explained that:” This is the first group of farmers to receive Angora goats. One hundred and eighty-five (185) farmers from six districts have already received Rams valued at M7,500 each; the project will cover the four remaining districts of Leribe, Thaba-Tseka, Quthing and Qacha’s Nek by May 2021”, he said.

A total of one thousand five hundred (1500) rams and seven hundred and fifty (750) bucks will be bought under the Culling and Exchange Programme. The second round of exchanges will commence country-wide upon completion of the ongoing first round. This programme is open to all farmers.

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