FAO supports Lesotho Government’s efforts to protect natural resources and food security

FAO supports Lesotho Government’s efforts to protect natural resources and food security

09/09/2015

Conservation agriculture is proven to be one of the best technologies and strategies to combat the negative effects of land degradation, which has led to a dramatic decline in agricultural production in Lesotho. Furthermore, rangelands which are not properly managed by users decrease their feeding potential and progressively deteriorate. Spreading conservation agriculture practice and rangeland management are therefore keys in attaining Lesotho’s food security.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, the Ministry of Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation and FAO Lesotho work hand in hand to increase the understanding and appreciation of the benefits of conservation agriculture as well as the adoption of the rangeland policy at community level. Two rounds of training for 80 chiefs and local representatives from Maseru district are being conducted in September 2015.

“Sustainable changes in the management of natural resources are only possible if they are embraced by communities and their leaders”, said Mr Yves Klompenhouwer, FAO Representative a.i. in Lesotho. “Therefore, we support the Government’s initiative to train local government representatives and traditional leaders. Substantial impact can only be achieved by working together”, added Mr Klompenhouwer.

The content of the training focused on the rangeland policy and the principles, benefits and practices of conservation agriculture. These two topics are in fact closely related since livestock feeding needs often challenge conservation agriculture farmers as they try to keep crop residues and live mulch in their conservation agriculture fields, a principle aiming at protecting soil from erosion and improving organic matter to enhance production.

With better rangeland management and adoption of conservation agriculture, both communities and animals will have access to better food while preserving the natural resources. This activity is funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).