MASERU — A new farmers’ organisation, the Lesotho National Farmers’ Union (Lenafu), will be officially launched next Sunday.
Lenafu was formed and registered in 2008 but could not be launched due to financial problems.
Its main mandate is to mobilise support for farmers through training.
Lenafu chief executive officer, Motsau Khuele, said they were seeking to promote capacity building activities for farmers through equipping them with skills to run their projects.
“Lenafu is a non-profit making organisation that depends on funds from donors to run its office and projects,” Khuele said.
Although the union does not provide funding to farmers it assists them to manage their projects.
The union is currently made up of 10 district agricultural organisations that seek to advance the interests of farmers.
Lenafu is a member of the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (Sacau), a regional agricultural organisation based in Pretoria, South Africa.
Khuele said through Sacau they are able to access funds from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and European Commission (EC).
He said Lenafu received about M475 000 during the 2010/2011 financial year from IFAD for the administration of the organisation.
He added that they were expecting more funding from the IFAD for the running of Lenafu’s training and capacity-building projects in the next two years.
“We are currently negotiating for the extension of the funding,” Khuele said.
They would also launch the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme, a NEPAD initiative aimed at developing agriculture in the region.
“We are also planning to approach the government to fund our projects.”
Khuele called on the government to have more confidence in local farmers and invest into their training.
“There is need for government to allocate adequate resources for farmers’ long-term projects,” he said.
Khuele said they were hoping to recruit youth agricultural organisations into Lenafu.
“Through agricultural projects young people can be able to create jobs,” he said.
He added that his organisation was working to promote economic development through home-grown strategies.