Wool regulations are unjust

Wool regulations are unjust

FOR over 130 years, wool and mohair sales have provided Lesotho with its largest exports and with its largest domestically generated sources of income.
The industry remains one of the few industries that truly belong to Basotho. Numbers don’t lie.
In 2018 at least M450 million was distributed among Basotho farmers.
But last week, parliament condemned the poor Basotho farmers to the abyss of poverty by endorsing the draconian Wool and Mohair Regulations 2018, which prohibits farmers and private traders from exporting their product to South Africa.

We are still not smarter on how the wool and mohair regulations are going to benefit the farmers because there is so much misinformation and propaganda being unleashed on us.
The regulations gazetted in May state that no one will trade in wool and mohair without a licence from the Ministry of Small Businesses.
On several occasions, the government admitted that the Lesotho National Wool and Mohair Growers Association (LNWMGA) and farmers, in general, were not consulted.

The LNWMGA has existed for 32 years. It is the only organisation that represents the interests of the 37 856 wool and mohair farmers. It therefore defies logic that the government could ignore such an important player in the industry when making regulations that affect farmers.

The association got an interim court order in June, ordering the government to allow farmers to sell their wool and mohair wherever they wish.
But the government is adamant that these regulations would be shoved down farmers’ throats.
These regulations are unjust and do not seek to protect the interests of Basotho farmers. I agree with Saint Augustine that an “unjust law is no law at all.”

The government has made these regulations to suit its whims to the detriment of the masses. As such, I don’t think the law should be obeyed in any manner or fashion.
The quest for power to control the post-harvest value chain has always been the driving force behind these unjust regulations. Those who fail to acknowledge this reality are themselves pawns on a grand chess board, to be moved around and manipulated.
It seems it is the purpose of Minister Tefo Mapesela and Minister Chalane Phori to ensure that farmers and Basotho remain ignorant of their true intentions and planning. Unfortunately, their secret has been exposed.

The coalition government has instead opted for a sinister and a mind boggling alternative: an unknown Chinese broker who has since failed to attract enough wool and mohair to have the auction he promised. He has offered no clarity on how he will sell the product to international buyers.
The regulations are unjust on several fronts.

The first is that they kill the industry. The whole world is moving away from this kind of restrictive trade. The developing world is working tirelessly to open up their borders for ease of trading and we have a government that does the opposite yet it claims to be doing it “for Basotho”.
The second reason is that free market is the answer to economic prosperity. Through the invisible-hand mechanism of self-regulating behavior, farmers stand to benefit by having self-interested actors make free economic decisions that benefit them.

The government should know that the concept of competition is an important component in a free market system.
In a comparative market the buyer of wool and mohair who does not offer good prices will be pushed out of the market because the farmers will reject him/her.
The idea of a free market is that prices will regulate themselves. Farmers stand to gain more in a free market environment and not this monopoly the government is imposing in the people.
Why should the government push for a law that creates a monopoly instead of free and competitive market that will benefit the wool and mohair farmers?
The government is staffed with capable men and women who can advise ministers on economic issues. The ministers pushing these regulations should not pretend that they understand the economics of the wool and mohair industry.

From their statements it’s clear that that they lack the requisite skills to comprehend the issue of free trade in the wool and mohair industry.
It is sad that the government has today decided to side with a foreigner, confirming that indeed we have now been captured by the Chinese.
I urge all the patriotic men and women, civil society, NGOs and international partners to come to the fore and compel our captured government to withdraw these anti-growth and draconian regulations with immediate effect.

If the government is genuine about reforming the wool and mohair industry it should engage in a robust exercise to analyse the structure of the present marketing system so that it becomes more inclusive and avoid one player being a monopoly.
It should look at how the state’s woolsheds can be managed to ensure an efficient and effective running of the wool and mohair industry.

The role of private traders should also be looked at with the view to understand how they can add value to the wool and mohair industry.
Anything short of such analysis will require both farmers and society to stand up in solidarity to defend the motherland not only against state capture by the Chinese but also protect the only remaining industry in the hands of Basotho!

The wool and mohair debacle is about fighting for post-harvest value chain. There is serious monopoly on the post-harvest value chain.
The government’s role is not to reinforce the Chinese monopoly through regulations but rather to level the playing ground in such a way that monopolistic tendencies are cracked.
These wool and mohair regulations are merely corrupt practices codified into law to introduce a Chinese monopoly that is oppressive to farmers.

Just because something is written into the law does not mean it’s just. Just because something is made a law does not mean it is an irrefutable truth.
Racism was the law of South Africa for many years. Is racism just? Is it right? Is it normal? Is it natural?
No! Yet, it was the law in South Africa and the United States for many years. The law is not there to legitimise corrupt and greedy behaviour of politicians.
Therefore I strongly believe wool and mohair farmers have a moral responsibility to disobey unjust regulations that do not benefit them. Such laws must be fought and resisted.

By: Ramahooana Matlosa

Previous Regulations badly ill-timed
Next Why Africa is in trouble

Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/thepostc/public_html/wp-content/themes/trendyblog-theme/includes/single/post-tags-categories.php on line 7

About author

You might also like


Are we truly free?

Last Sunday I woke up with a heavy heart. I looked around my house and everything was imported. I checked my wardrobe and everything I wear was imported, yet it


Scoring own goals

LAST week Lesotho’s media was awash with reports of the launch of the vaccination programme. They said their Majesties received the inaugural AstraZeneca vaccine.The inoculation of the first family was


Development challenges

Peace is the quintessential element to any process of development; take the simple image of the embryo that has to develop in the egg: such a process of development from