Conservation Agriculture explained by farmers to farmers in Lesotho

Conservation Agriculture explained by farmers to farmers in Lesotho

14/09/2014

During the month of June 2014, up to106 farmers practicing Conservation Agriculture (CA) had the opportunity to exchange views, experiences and ideas with other farmers during their visit to two communities outstanding in the practice of CA in Tale and Mahobong Resource Centres in Lesotho.

Learning from others' experience

The objective of these visits was to allow cross fertilisation of ideas amongst farmers and to have a better understanding of the CA principles and how to practice it. CA is underpinned by three principles: continuous minimum mechanical soil disturbance, permanent organic soil cover (mulches or cover crops) and diversification of crop species grown in sequence and/or association.

Participants had the opportunity to witness the use of cover crops such as grazing vetch which protects the soil against erosion, and enriches it with Nitrogen while contributing to optimise soil moisture, the most critical aspect during dry spells.

Mr. Paul Motseki, lead farmer of a group of CA farmers in Mahobong, welcomed visiting farmers from Tale at his home. He explains “Farmers are benefitting a lot from this initiative; they are able to see by themselves how well one can do with Conservation Agriculture techniques as it is harvest time and we can see a lot of cobs in my CA maize field.”

Participants are farmers enrolled in the joint Emergency and Resilience Programme (ERP) of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS). Given the success of this initiative, FAO and MAFS are planning to replicate these visits in the whole country before the next summer crop planting season.

The ERP is funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), Belgium, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the British Department for International Development (DFID), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).