SMALL-SCALE farmers and schools recently received a boost in their quest to achieving sustainable agricultural production courtesy of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) which donated drip irrigation kits, food dryers and planters.
The donations, which were done in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, saw the Lesotho National Farmers Union (LENAFU) and the Ministry of Education receiving the equipment on behalf of their constituencies.
A total of 200 drip irrigation kits, 364 solar food dryers and undisclosed number of planters were handed over for communal use to selected farmers’ groups and schools.
Drip irrigation involves the economic usage of water as it drops directly onto the crop. The technology also helps to control the growth of weeds by starving them of water.
The smart planter has the ability to dig holes and plant seeds concurrently. The food dryer is useful in drying a range of fruits and vegetables to enable farmers to maintain a constant supply of food even when such foods are out of season.
Speaking at the recent handover event in the Berea district, Agriculture minister Mahala Molapo said the donated equipment would enable the beneficiaries to thrive by countering the negative effects of climate change.
“If put to good use, I believe that these important gifts will improve the productivity of farmers and conserve the soil for many years to come,” Mr Molapo said.
He said the beneficiaries of previous FAO donations who made had made good use of them were still reaping positive results.
For his part, the Assistant representative of FAO in Lesotho, Mokitinyane Nthimo, said the donations were aimed at helping to build resilience among the small-scale farmers who were exposed to hazards in the form of recurrent natural disasters.
He said FAO’s interventions promoted the spread of improved Disaster Risk Management methods and technologies on key aspects of agriculture and the food security sectors.
“These interventions include conservation agriculture, crop production, food processing and preservation, appropriate seed varieties, land and water use and management, agricultural inputs supply, market access environmental rehabilitation, protective afforestation and irrigation, among others,” Mr Nthimo said.
On her part, LENAFU representative ‘Mamolise Lawrence said the donation would assist them in attaining their goal of promoting self-sufficiency in the production of nutritious food. She further said that the donation would ignite the passion among small-scale farmers to continue in their quest of attaining food security.
“The equipment is also user friendly and will therefore encourage people to take a keen interest in farming,” she said.
The Education ministry’s representative, Zongezile Dlangamandla, said the donation supported the demands of the new education curriculum which seeks to ensure scholars and teachers impart the knowledge they gain at school to the community.