Lesotho used to be a food-exporting country, but now imports over 70% of its food.
There is fertile farm-land in the lowlands around Maputsoe where Action Lesotho is based, but due to the impact of climate change, AIDS and other complex structural factors, much of it has fallen out of production, or is producing very low yields.
Farm skills are being lost and the impact on food security is devastating. Bringing land back into productive use is the single greatest intervention that can contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty in Lesotho, raising more of the population above the poverty line, and generating employment.
Action Lesotho runs a model tillage Farm on 21 hectares of previously neglected land with the objective of identifying those crops which can be grown most successfully by farmers with limited resources, and as a place where local farmers can come to learn practical farming skills, receive agricultural advice, and share information and ideas on farm problems and how to solve them.
Most of the output of the farm goes to Action Lesotho’s feeding programs, with any surplus being sold to defray costs. We have trained our local farm team to manage this farm to best modern standards. The main crops are maize, sorghum, winter wheat and potatoes, and in most years they have produced yields far above the national average. However, during 2015 and 2016 prolonged drought has affected all of southern Africa; germination has been poor and yields have plummeted, and some crops are only fit for animal fodder.
Action Lesotho, with funding from Arrabawn Co-op in Ireland, employs a South African agricultural advisor, Carl von Maltitz, who speaks fluent Sesotho and is himself an experienced farmer. He provides expert advice to our own farm manager, Molemo Lethea, and to local farming groups, and also helps the Dept. of Agriculture advisory service in Maputsoe.
Innovation & Entrepreneurial Development
To help generate new agri-business ideas which will add value to farm output and create employment, Action Lesotho delivers innovation and enterprise training to farmers, educators and advisors, under the leadership of Carl von Maltitz.
Action Lesotho has small demonstration projects at its Phukalla farm centre, where it has a dairy project, a hammer mill, a vegetable garden, and is producing chutney and jams.
Action Lesotho’s farm project and advice service has been made possible by the generous support of Arrabawn Co-operative Society and the IMPACT trade Union.