Kabi hits ground running

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…promises physical payments to clear bag lock of unpaid wool and mohair farmers

By Mamello Mosaefane

Newly-appointed minister of agriculture and food security, Nkaku Kabi has allayed fears of wool and Mohair farmers who have gone unpaid since 2018 promising them physical cash payment will be made to them at their shearing sheds.

Wool and Mohair farmers’ business plummeted after the government bungled the wool and mohair industry in an attempt to localise the international auction of the product with the localised auction handed to a Chinese monopoly that collapsed after much fightback by farmers association Lesotho National Wool and Mohair Growers Association.

Kabi alerted farmers that soon his ministry will make physical payments for their wool and mohair after being owed since 2018.

The payments, as Kabi said, are from 2018 that farmers have since been waiting for from the then licensed wool and mohair auctioneer Maseru Dawning owned by Chinese man Stone Shi.

He said out of the M10 Million that the government had set to bail out the farmers, M8 million has already been paid; with almost M2 million left for farmers that the bank failed to locate.

“Some of the farmers that have not been paid is due to their bank accounts having been closed, while some cannot be located,” Kabi said.

He, therefore, said the ministry of agriculture is soon to approach the ministry of small businesses to help with logistics, and get soldiers from the ministry of defence to offer security while the money is physically delivered to farmers just like it is done when old-age pensions are paid to the elderly.

While Kabi said the payment dates are yet to be confirmed with the ministry of small businesses, he promised it should be between November and December this year.

The Minister said the unpaid farmers are said to be mostly from the district of Quthing, Qacha’s Nek, Thaba-Tseka, Berea and a few from Maseru, whom Kabi said can be paid in 3 days when all is set.

The farmers, Kabi said will be expected to collect their money from their respective shearing sheds on dates that will be communicated with their committees.