Liapeng Raliengoane

LESOTHO – World Bank Senior Agriculture Specialist Daniel Gerber said while going around the farmers sites, he observed keen farmers who want to improve livelihoods.

This he said while observing the beneficiaries’ sites where the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security’s Smallholder Agriculture Development Project II (SADP II) projects around Leribe district are implemented.

“We are here as the team from the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) which are international organizations funding SADP II project that the government of Lesotho through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security is implementing,” he disclosed.

“What we are doing is a mid-term review of the project. This means the project has run for a few years. We are making visits to a number of beneficiaries and sites to look at them and get impressions. After this, we will come together with stakeholders, the government included and discuss our observations. So far, we have seen keen farmers who want to improve livelihoods and the project seems to be well,” Gerber added.

SADP II Project Director ‘Malichaba Nkhethoa highlighted that the aim of the beneficiaries’ sites was for funders to observe the farmers work and they do this twice a year, it is called a mid-term review. That the project has run for 3years now and is a 6 year-project.
Nkhethoa also indicated that SADP II is financially supported by the World Bank, the Government of Japan and IFAD and this is in effort to protect small-holder farmers from falling into poverty in the event of climate shocks and thus providing them with tools to thrive.

“SADP II aims at strengthening the adaptive capacity of small-holder farmers to adjust and modify their potential future impacts from climate variability. We are here to also observe how COVID-19, Russian-Ukraine war and many other challenges have affected the farmers.”

In a nutshell she said SADP II supports transformative interventions for agricultural productivity and resilience at farm and landscape levels, provides solutions at institutional level to ensure the sustainability of agricultural outcomes, encourages commercialization that would contribute to improved livelihoods and promotes better nutritional outcomes towards improved human capital development.

One farmer whose site was visited, a 30year-old Khoase Thethe from Matlameng Ha Moshoeshoe said he observed a need for eggs in the market and bridged that gap. He started with 1000 chicks and the business is doing well though he is encountering challenges such as: low water supply because the borehole at the farm has some technical problems and does not meet the demand of the farm.

He said though the farm is doing well, its production is low since the demand for eggs is huge. Thethe mentioned another challenge of retailers who want classified or graded eggs and he is not able to meet this demand because he does not have a sorting and grading machine. He sells eggs to local shops, a supermarket and other retailers in Hlotse town.

Another farmer from Ha Mokotjo site, Letšoenyo Motanteli expressed that theirs is a society of 0 villagers who grow vegetables individually in their respective gardens. Through the guidance of Extension Officers, they are able to produce well and their society is legally registered and called Phepo e Nepahetseng Society.

He said their biggest challenge is lack of water for irrigation purposes. In order to get water, they walk for 1 kilometre. That they are hindered from producing more due to lack of water and lack of shade nets are their gardens are just bare, making them vulnerable to too much heat, storms and heavy rains.

The good side though is that there is a market for their products and they are doing well. They are able to pay school fees for their children and meet their daily home needs.

Another side visited was the Thaba Phatšoa Irrigation Scheme whereby 32 farmers have come together. One member Teboho Khantši indicated that the aim of their scheme is to improve their livelihoods and that as the community, they find no need to go seek employment in other districts as they have found their own mine of agricultural produce.

He pointed out that they will not be producing for individual consumption but for commercial purposes. They have thus far planted 571 heads of cabage that are climate resilient. This scheme comprises of villagers from Ha Ramapepe and Thaba Phatšoa and the aim is to become sustainable and improve livelihoods of communities around it.

SADP II is a project aimed at supporting the increased adoption of climate smart agricultural technologies in Lesotho’s agriculture.