M150m paid to mohair farmers’

M150m paid to mohair farmers’

MASERU – THE Lesotho Wool Centre says it has paid M150 million to pay more than 20 000 wool and mohair farmers.
This, the centre said, means that 75 percent of the farmers have been paid.
The centre’s spokesperson, Manama Letsie, told a press conference yesterday that since 2017 the centre has sold around 30 000 bales of both mohair and wool to international buyers in China, India, Italy, South Africa and other countries.

Letsie said they started paying farmers on January 7 this year.
He said 20 000 of 32 000 farmers have been paid.
He said their agreement with the farmers was that the farmers will be paid within three to four months if everything goes well.
Letsie said it was difficult to pay all the farmers due to logistical and administrative issues and policies.
“When the wool and mohair is delivered to the centre there are split sheets which have to be left to enable us to capture data,” he said.

He said they are supposed to get them within a week but it takes longer.
Letsie said the other problem was that some of the account numbers provided by the farmers were dormant or completely closed.
He said it was necessary for banks to re-activate the accounts before the payments were made.
He said they did everything in their power to have these processed and settled.
“We have come to a decision that for those farmers whose accounts could not be re-activated, cheques will be written and issued out in their names,” he said.

He however said the charges for the cheques will be paid by the farmers.
Letsie said to improve the payment system the centre has increased the number of clerks from five to 15. He said in the past auction which ended in April, they were able to export 22 000 bales of wool and 3 000 bales of mohair which generated M500 million.

He said the rumours that a kilogram of mohair was sold for M50 is a fallacy citing that the average price for mohair is M244 per kilogram.
However in April the centre sold wool to a South African company for M118 per kg, according to export documents seen by thepost last week.
Letsie said they sell to companies which process wool and mohair not middlemen.
“Lesotho Wool Centre has made a commitment to pay all the farmers all their dues by month end,” he said.
Stone Shi, who is running the centre, said there was enough money to pay Basotho.
“Rumours that the centre is broke are not true since I have invested more money in the company,” Shi said.

Refiloe Mpobole

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