The International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) has celebrated its 40th anniversary in style since its inauguration, the event was held at Mojalefa Lephole this week.
The birthday celebration of the International Agricultural body comprised the Ministry of Agriculture Food Security, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Forestry, Wool and Mohair Promotion Project under IFAD as well as the developing the farmers in Lesotho.
Delivering opening remarks, the chairman of Lesotho National and Wool and Mohair Growers Association Mokoinihi Thinyane said that the relationship between the two organisations is harmonised by the progress that is being made by the organisation.
He added that the assistance given by IFAD is evident since the famers seem to be developing from subsistence to commercial farmers who are evolving the economy of Lesotho, further mentioning that if the support of IFAD proceeds even to the coming years farming in Lesotho shall indeed see progress.
He mentioned that the Wool and Mohair Promotion Project (WAMPP) helped farmers to be able to generate income that circulates within the country. He added that they now prepared 273 animals that will be auctioned.
“We now have organised 273 sheep and goats that are to be auctioned and all the money collected from these auctions shall not be used, it is being saved in a special account of the organisation, through the help of IFAD we now have about 1230 ewes and 23 rams,” he said.
He explained that the money shall be utilised upon the culmination of the project, adding that they are doing to make sure that even when IFAD has Lesotho on its own they can have money to assist with the continuation of the organisation.
Thinyane further mentioned that when Covid-19 hit Lesotho and affected the farmers, IFAD director communicated with his fellows to sell animal food with subsidiary. Today for the first time farmers buy food with half a price of the animal foods.
Lesotho National Farmers Union (LENAFU) representative Dr Mathabo Tsepa said agriculture is about saving the lives and livelihoods. She mentioned that even though today it was all about the celebration of harmonious time, the outcries of farmers should not be ignored.
“Despite the life given by the agriculture in Lesotho, the farmers’ lives are being threatened since as we speak the farmers in rural areas of Mokhotlong are now without summer inputs so that they can engage in the summer planting.
She went on alerting the minister of agriculture that the celebration should ring bells to his ministry that should work harder because celebrating achievements is better than just celebrating time working with IFAD.
Meanwhile, United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative Betty Wabunoha said these projects are meant to assist Basotho living in highlands of Lesotho. She mentioned that over 70% of Basotho living in rural areas of Lesotho are depend on agriculture and without assistance they cannot elevate the economy of Lesotho.
She added that everyone in Lesotho has a role to play in eradicating poverty, mentioning that IFAD has been paramount in helping Basotho and developing the farmers in rural areas of Lesotho. She mentioned that IFAD is prepared to finance up to 21 million in developing the rural area farming.
Speaking on behalf of the donor, IFAD Country Director Philip Baumgartner said to celebrate years with Lesotho, both Lesotho and IFAD will have to look back to where they come from and rectify some of the things they did not do appropriately.
“We need to look back to amend those things which did not go according to our initial plans, this way we will be celebrating victories and yet we are building more victories for tomorrow,” he said.
He said the relationship of Lesotho and IFAD has been paradise in these 40 years and he hopes that more is yet still to come through this partnership. Adding that they are impressed to say that as donors all they do is to fund the projects while the whole work is done by the Lesotho farmers who show a huge dedication.
Thanking IFAD for sponsoring her business Nthuba Masiu, a dry fruits producer said the project helped her to regenerate profits that were lost due to bad weather. She said that she was advised by one of the fellow farmers to go and ask for help from SADP. She thanked IFAD for all what it has done to enhance her life.