Today, 22nd June 2021, the Department of Livestock in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS) held a meeting with representatives of farmers (wool and mohair producers) from all ten districts. The meeting is prompted by the need to officially open new shearing sheds which have been constructed by the Wool and Mohair Promotion Project (WAMPP). Under the project, twenty-two (22) new sheds have been constructed country-wide. This will minimize the distance that some farmers in the remoter parts of the country had to travel (with their flocks) to reach the nearest shearing shed; in the same breath, this will relieve the burden on old sheds that were servicing large flocks of sheep and goats in certain areas.
It was emphasized that shearing sheds are a public property meant to facilitate the processing of wool and mohair for all Basotho farmers. Although Basotho have organized themselves into various farmer groups, there should be cooperation and harmony between all groups concerning the use of shearing sheds. The extension approach currently employed by MAFS provides that every district is headed by a District Agricultural Officer (DAO) who oversees several resource centres – which may be further divided to sub-centres. Each resource centre has an Area Technical Officer among its staff. This officer is available to play the role of mediator(where necessary) for a particular shearing shed.
The event was graced by the presence of the Principal Secretary, MAFS, Mr Nchaka Makara, WAMPP Project Director, Mr Retšelisitsoe Khoalenyane and other senior MAFS staff. In order to pave way for the official opening of sheds, districts are expected to hold similar meetings at the district level by the 29th June 2021. Subsequently, each shearing shed(through a shearing shed association) will also hold a meeting to smoothen operations in that particular shed.
WAMPP has constructed new sheds(22) and refurbished some existing sheds(43) in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of fibre processing. Additionally, more than a thousand(1000) shearers, classers and record keepers have also undergone training as part of a capacity-building process aimed at enhancing wool-mohair processing and marketing.