Mohair farmers win interim order

Mohair farmers win interim order

MASERU – WOOL and Mohair farmers on Tuesday won a High Court interim order blocking the government from effecting regulations they say will harm their business interests.
The order instructs the government to halt the implementation of the Agricultural Marketing Regulations of 2018 pending finalisation of a case filed by the farmers last Friday.

The Lesotho National Wool and Mohair Growers Association (LNWMGA) wants the High Court to declare a section in the controversial new Agricultural Marketing Regulations of 2018 null and void and with no effect.
The association’s gripe is that under the new regulations, the Licensing of Wool and Mohair Business Schedule 2(1) is prejudicial to farmers.
The regulations state that a person shall not be involved in business of wool and mohair shearing shed, brokering, testing, trading and auctioning, processing and exporting unless he has obtained a licence to do so from the Minister responsible for Small Businesses Development.

It also states that a holder of the export licence shall not export wool and mohair unless it is prepared, brokered, traded and auctioned in Lesotho.
The association wants the Legal Notice No. 37 of 2018, which published the regulations, to be held in abeyance until the government consults farmers so that they can have their input in the regulations.

In their court papers the farmers say members of their organisation are currently using Lesotho government-owned shearing sheds.
The government says they should cease using its shearing sheds until they have complied with the new regulations.
Schedule 1 of Legal Notice No.37 of 2018 says they are not entitled to use even their own shearing sheds as individuals without a licence.

In the court papers, the farmers say some of the government-owned shearing sheds are used, not by individuals but cooperative societies and associations.

They want to know if the new regulations provide that such cooperatives and associations should apply for licences or it is the individuals only who are required to obtain the licence.

The farmers say the auctioning of wool and mohair has to be undertaken under well prepared auction floors and well organised contingent of buyers for effective competition.

“We are not aware of the presence of this infrastructure to effectively handle Lesotho clip for this important activity,” the court papers say.
“Lesotho mohair has been shorn, graded and packaged for export to the international markets. While the discussion and other preparatory procedures for local auctioning of Lesotho wool and mohair are under discussion as we propose, we strongly recommend that 2018 Mohair Clip be marketed under The Agricultural Marketing (Trading) Regulations, 1974,” the court papers say.

Lemohang Rakotsoane

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