Improving Climate Smart Agriculture in Lesotho schools

Improving Climate Smart Agriculture in Lesotho schools

29/04/2015

In April and May 2015, FAO Lesotho is conducting trainings on climate-smart agriculture technologies, such as conservation agriculture, home gardening and nutrition, targeting 280 primary and secondary school teachers, from all districts of Lesotho.

Last year, 260 teachers already benefited from a first round of training on conservation agriculture and visual training materials were made available. This year, additional training materials on home gardening and nutrition will be made available to schools improving pedagogic tools so teaching quality is improved. Training sessions are integrated by theory and practice in home gardening plot construction, such as keyhole and trench gardens, technologies which allow to improve the productivity of our home gardens.

“I have previously seen these keyhole plots but was ignorant until I got this training that instilled interest in me. I have already started collecting materials with my pupils for the construction of a keyhole plot”, said Ms Retšepile Moholisa from Qholaqhoe High School in Botha-Bothe district.

Students offer an incredible potential to contribute towards their community's food security. “I feel very motivated by the training. We have started collecting materials with my students. We want to construct a trench plot before the end of the year. Our school also has a field that we want to have conservation agriculture trial”, indicated Ms Lintle 'Molotsi from St. Martins High School in Mokhotlong district.

The training sessions are organised by FAO Lesotho, the Ministry of Education and Training through the leadership of the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS). Practical demonstrations are conducted by Rural Self-Help Development Association.

Why is it important to talk about conservation agriculture?

Conservation agriculture aims at giving farming households improved and sustainable livelihoods through the application of three principles: (i) continuous minimum mechanical soil disturbance; (ii) permanent organic soil cover; and (iii) diversification of crop species grown in sequence and/or association.

Conservation agriculture provides an adequate adaptation technique for climate change in Lesotho and is affordable to all farmers. It protects the soil from erosion by water and wind, improves the soil's organic matter and conserves the infiltration of soil water, while reducing farmers' production costs.

Why is it important to talk about home gardening and nutrition?

Learning home gardening techniques optimizing fertility of our soil and moisture retention will translate in increased and better quality vegetable production at home, a practice adopted by most households in Lesotho. Preparation of compost and home remedies to control pests will boost our production and the food security of our families.

It is also critical to make a better use of the food available. A balance diet adapted to the age of the household members will improve the nutrition and health of communities in Lesotho. Since the children are the future for Lesotho, FAO, NCDC and MAFS count on school teachers to disseminate knowledge among school kids who can bring the information to their homes and future livelihoods.

This activity was made possible by the support of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).