On May 6, a host of farmers, especially those who till the soil gathered at Mosesidi Farm 10 belonging, incidentally to a farmer who share Sir Ketumile Masire’s name, Quett Rabai in the Barolong Farms.
Rabai was this year’s host to the farmers who came from far and wide. Amongst them was none other than Sir Ketumile, the Master farmer. He sat alongside retired Vice President, Ponatshego Kedikilwe and Bangwaketse Kgosikgolo, Malope III.
A group of farmers in the Barolong Farms have vowed to help wean the nation from its dependence on food imports by ensuring they cultivate as many crops as possible over a very wide and fertilise area. Not only did their idea resonate with Masire, they were actually preaching to the converted, a man who farming was his first love to his dying date of June 23.
The formed Mosisedi, which is an acronym derived from two villages, Mosi and Sedibeng the group of farmers respectively belong or reside. After passing some villages in Barolong area, including Good Hope, a dust road takes you through vast farmlands, and as it was May, an array of colours of crops ready for harvest made such a sojourn an experience of a lifetime.
For maize, a golden colour stretched as far as the eye could see, and then the next one of brown heads, depicting sorghum as the dominant crop would also give a dull and sobering effect to the on-looker.
All in all, 25 dedicated farmers “took it upon themselves to diligently work towards feeding the nation,” produce a helluva lot of food.
As a person so dedicated to farming as a means to take someone out of poverty, it was just right for Sir Ketumile to be among the crowd that listened to motivating speeches from farmers, experts, financiers, government officials and other stakeholders in the agricultural industry.
After the official ceremonies, Sir Ketumile was literally mobbed by participants, some who took selfies with him. He was rescued, literally coerced from the ecstatic admirers, by none other than an Afrikaner farmer and obviously bosom pal, Cronje and together, arm in arm, with Sir Ketumile throwing the last word at his admirers, they walked to the waiting harvester by the edge of Rabai’s sorghum field.
Sir Ketumile led the way up the cabin of the enormous green machine that also dragged an equally enormous harvester. Rra Gaone turned the key and the two drove for some for about 100 before turning the machine and heading back to the cheering crowd.
When he started observing protocol, Citizen Entrepreneurial Development agency (CEDA) boss, Thabo Thamane, firstly acknowledged the personage of Sir Ketumile amongst dignitaries at the top table.
Thamane said he had been sent by his
Thamane said despite the six year age difference, the two were more like age-mates as they did everything age-mates did like visiting each other to exchange views and ideas or just to hang around.
Alas, it was not to be because a few weeks later Thamane’s grandfather, whom the family was busy preparing a feast to celebrate, succumbed to a short illness. So, instead of coming to the party, sir Ketumile had to visit the Thamane’s in Kanye to offer his condolences, and I believe even to try to find closure at the sudden demise of his friend.
Thamane said Masire was dedicated to farming such that he had recently been encouraging arable farmers to adopt “climate smart farming.” The theme of the Mosisedi Harvest Day was “Climate Smart Farming for Sustainable Agriculture, “and no doubt, Sir Ketumile felt he had to lend his support to such a noble effort.
Having come from a period when there was scarcity of everything, including food, that had to be imported, he saw hope in the idea.
According to a brochure that was prepared by Mosisedi farmers for the day, the idea is to mass produce quality crops using methods and measures that could help attain that. The general aim, however, is to outsmart conditions that prevail in today’s world of climate change.
Said the brochure: Climate change threatens to undo years of progress achieved in agricultural development, with the most severe consequences falling on dry land arable agriculture. Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) can ensure agricultural development and food security are not compromised.
“CSA is an approach that helps guide actions to transform agricultural system to effectively and sustainably support food security in all aspects.”
I believe and hope the idea is going to be preached to the whole country so that even subsistence farmers would adopt it in order to try to outwit adverse weather conditions that always lay farming fields bare, as it happens during droughts, flooding and so on.
Being a person who loves to see progress, he was content, as he retired home to his grandchildren that day that his beloved republic was on course to attain food self-sufficiency. And he died a smiling, contented man.
As mourners filed into the national assembly to peer at them, a permanent smile was on his face. A smile of hopeful contentment.