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Launch of Conservation Agriculture up scaling strategy for Lesotho
The up-scaling of Conservation Agriculture (CA) in Lesotho has recently taken a step forward. The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Litsoane Litsoane, launched the CA up scaling strategy on April 5th, 2013 in Maphuts’eng, Mohale’s Hoek.
This strategy intends to bring CA to all corners of Lesotho by coordinating and engaging with all agricultural sectors in the country. This effort is supported by the National CA Task Force. The members of the NCATF work coordinately to promote the adoption of CA in Lesotho, under the leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS) and active participation of NGOs and FAO.
During the launch, members of the Task Force demonstrated some key principles of CA such as soil cover and showed fields cultivated according to CA principles in Growing Nations farm (Maphuts’eng).
CA is based on three main principles which are minimal soil disturbance, soil cover, and crop rotation/intercropping. These new agricultural practices have short and medium-term impacts such as increase of yields and improvement of their quality, but also long-term impacts as they improve the quality of soils and mitigate soil erosion, ensuring better harvests in a sustainable manner.
FAO is working closely with MAFS and the NCATF to enhance the adoption of CA in Lesotho. Together, they recently produced high quality visual training material to be used by MAFS extension officers when training farmers on CA. In his speech, Mr. Litsoane stated that conservation agriculture is one of the measures which can mitigate the impacts of climate change allowing communities to build resilience and better withstand future shocks. He invited large scale farmers to show interest in CA, in order to help developing and spreading the new agricultural technique in Lesotho.