Africa-Press – Lesotho. The government of Lesotho and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) celebrated 40 years partnership in Maseru on Thursday. The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Hon.
Nkaku Kabi heaped praises on the relationship between the two. He thanked the organisation for extending its contribution to Lesotho. “Why do we spend so much to buy food yet we have an
abundant land?” he retorted. Hon Kabi also hinted at the upcoming tour of the country to commercialise agriculture. Speaking at the IFAD, Country Director for Botswana,
Lesotho and Namibia, Dr Phillip Baumgartner expressed hope that today’s meeting will contribute to working better with the government. IFAD is an international financial institution and also a
specialised United Nations (UN). Its work involves investing in rural people, empowering them to enhance food security, improve nutrition as well improving
the households’ income. The government entered into a partnership with IFAD in December 1980 on what was termed the Agricultural and Marketing Credit Project.
IFAD has supported 11 projects injecting to the tune of 92.11 million US dollars equivalent to M1.4 billion. Of the 11 projects which IFAD has supported, eight have
been closed, two are ongoing and one has started. One of the beneficiaries of the IFAD funded projects, Nyamane Thelingoane, who is a private breeder beneficiary hailed the culling
exchange programme under WAMPP (Wool and Mohair Promotion Project) one of the projects funded by IFAD, said the programme has helped in improving his livestock.
He said he exchanged his four ewes and received an improved breed ram. Thelingoane further expressed gratitude over the intervention extended to wool and mohair farmers with the subsidised animal
feed that they buy at half price. “WAMPP is improving our lives,” he said. President of Lesotho National Wool and Mohair Growers Association (LNWMGA) Mokoenehi Thinyane said their organisation has benefited
from the IFAD partnership. Thinyane said it is evident on the ground for their work. “They [IFAD] have expended the funds to where they are needed,” he said.
For her part, the President of Lesotho National Farmers Union (LENAFU), a national organisation of farmers with membership sitting at around 68 000 farmers countrywide Dr ‘Mathabo Tsepa said agriculture is about
saving lives and livelihoods. She however warned that the farmers suffer low output due to lack of access to inputs. Dr Tsepa said rural farmers are crying as they do not
have access to summer crop inputs further challenging those at the echelons at the Ministry to “lead” them. The UN acting Resident Coordinator Betty Wabunoha said
the 40 years is “an excellent achievement and speaks to the long-term commitment of both Lesotho and IFAD towards agricultural development and rural transformation”.
She further highlighted that inequality is “particularly pronounced” in both rural and urban places. The UN Resident Coordinator mentioned that Lesotho has
experienced the effects of climate change marked by land erosion and soil degradation, droughts and floods adding that these factors “limit the potential productivity” of the agricultural sector. Meanwhile, there had been a recorded decline in yields owing greatly to global warming.