The Principal Secretary (Acting) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr M. Pomela and the Chairman of the Lesotho National and Wool and Mohair Growers’ Association (LNWMGA), Mr M. Thinyane signed a sub-lease agreement for the Mokhotlong Breeding Centre (Sheep Stud) on the 25th October 2018. This effectively transfers the operationalization of the centre to this representative group of more than thirty-thousand producers of wool and mohair in Lesotho. This is the second breeding centre that the government of Lesotho avails for the benefit of farmers under the Wool and Mohair Promotion Project (WAMPP). The first centre is situated in Quthing and was handed over more than a year ago.
WAMPP will run for seven years and is scheduled to conclude in 2022. Broken down into three complementary components, the project addresses challenges in the wool and mohair value chain, specifically in: Rangeland Management, Merino sheep and Angora goat Production and Management and Wool and Mohair Processing and Marketing. The transfer of breeding centres to farmers is one of the activities under the second component (Improved Merino Sheep and Angora goats Production and Management) where focus is on: improved nutrition, breeding and animal health.
The Wool and Mohair sub-sector is estimated to provide and support livelihoods of more than 100,000 households directly; WAMPP aims at reaching 50,000 households. The project will assist wool and mohair producers to lessen negative effects of climate change on their production of fibre. The country’s communal rangelands serve as the primary source of feeding for most farmers. WAMPP will inculcate a culture of supplementary feeding by conducting fodder demonstrations in all the agro-ecological zones of Lesotho. Working in conjunction with the National University of Lesotho, research studies will be conducted to test the best types of fodder to grow in each zone (Highlands, Senqu Valley, Foothills, Lowlands).
The Quthing Sheep Stud received its first flock of rams (9) and ewes (300) in September 2017. The centre already boasts of hundred and sixty-two (162) lambs which were all born in the current lambing season. Rams will be available for sale in early 2020. It is envisaged that the revival of the Mokhotlong Sheep Stud will greatly benefit from lessons learned in Quthing – thus expediting the National Breeding Programme for Merino Sheep and Angora Goats (NBPMA). The centre will also be rehabilitated and will receive its first flock of rams and ewes, bucks and does, once preparatory work has been completed. Successful operation of the two breeding centres will contribute to improvement of the genetic value of local flocks. This, in turn, will reduce the dependence of local producers on importation of quality animals from South Africa.
The Wool and Mohair Promotion Project is funded by: the government of Lesotho, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Adaptation for Smallholder Agricultural Programme(ASAP) the OPEC Fund for International Development(OFID) and the Lesotho National Wool and Mohair Growers’ Association(LNWMGA).