Kissing poverty good-bye!

Kissing poverty good-bye!

LERIBE – What started as a way out of poverty is turning into a path towards prosperity for Sekonyela Molapo.
The 39-year-old from Leribe Pitseng is scaling dizzy heights – thanks to a passion for agriculture cultivated from an early age when his mother engaged in agriculture as a means to escape poverty.

“I was only three years old when my father died and from there on, my mother had to work hard and make sure that we go to sleep with something in the stomach,” Molapo said. Uneducated and unemployed, Molapo’s mother had few options but to take to agriculture to put food at the table.
She would sell the surplus to fellow villagers for a small profit.

Unknowingly, she was sowing the seeds for her child’s future success. Today, Molapo, the youngest in his family, counts a car, a house and a promising business as benefits of growing up in a family that valued agriculture. He has moved away from his mother’s small-time vegetable venture to concentrate on growing fruit trees, a business that is gaining momentum among the Basotho.

Looking back, Molapo has few regrets and hopes he has turned his back on poverty forever. After all, he knows how tough life can be.
Three of Molapo’s older siblings had to drop out of school at primary level to assist their mother grow vegetables for food and send Molapo to school.
This did not sit well with Molapo but life had to move on.
Although he was busy with getting good grades at school while his elder siblings helped his mother at home, Molapo had a small plot that he was fully responsible for.

“At a young age I did not like agriculture because I did not see any good in it. But my mother motivated me by giving me this one plot that I had to see that it had vegetables at all times” Molapo said.
Realising that the very thing that he hated paid his school fees, bought him clothes and fed him, Molapo’s started developing love and appreciation for agriculture.

“Now I have a Diploma in Adult Education (2006) and a Diploma in Education (2015). I have graduated through the hard work of my mother and I know agriculture was the means for me to achieve this. I had to fall in love with it,” Molapo said.
Molapo is currently a teacher at Tšepe Government Primary School in Leribe.

In 2013 Molapo ventured into agriculture by first planting potatoes, cabbage and tomatoes from his own field. He failed to make a profit.
Molapo decided to shift focus and ventured into a fruit tree planting project with an initial capital of M1000 to buy equipment.
The government, through the Ministry of Forestry and Land Reclamation, became the biggest customer while other buyers came from the community.
Molapo sells each tree for M30.00. He has made M121 500 this year alone, up from M51 000 last year.

“Out of this business I have managed to build the house of my dreams and buy a car,” Molapo said.
Molapo said his business has created employment for the community he lives in.
“I am also able to help Basotho with jobs because I have managed to hire 30 people during the harvest and ploughing seasons,” Molapo said.
Molapo hopes to see his project grow and give birth to many other projects that will assist his community fight poverty.
“I want to see every member in my village being able to provide for their families,” Molapo said.

Thooe Ramolibeli

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