Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) National Dialogue at Maseru Sun Hotel, Lesotho
20 February 2014

Lesotho Participants for the Climate Smart Agriculture National Dialogue; 14 February 2014

Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) is agriculture that sustainably increases productivity, resilience (adaptation), reduces/removes greenhouse gases (mitigation), and enhances achievement of national food security and development goals. CSA promotes agricultural best practices, particularly integrated crop management, conservation agriculture, intercropping, improved seeds and fertilizer management practices, as well as supporting increased investment in agricultural research. CSA encourages the use of all available and applicable climate change solutions in a pragmatic and impact-focused manner. While resilience is key, CSA is a broad approach which for more innovation and pro-activeness in changing the way farming is done in order to adapt and mitigate while sustainably increasing productivity. CSA practices propose the transformation of agricultural policies and agricultural systems to increase food productivity and enhance food security while preserving the environment and ensuring resilience to a changing climate

FANRPAN held a Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) National Dialogue at Maseru Sun Hotel, Lesotho. During the dialogue, FANRPAN shared research outputs generated from the Strengthening Evidence-Based Climate Change Adaptation Policies (SECCAP) project to key FANR stakeholders. The dialogue was also used to validate the Lesotho CSA policy scoping report conducted under the Evidence-Based Policies on Climate Smart Agriculture (EPCSA) project and solicit more inputs from other stakeholders.

The dialogue was also used as a platform to validate CSACSA policy policy scoping report and get more inputs from other stakeholders.

Dr Motlatsi Mokhothu, representing the National University of Lesotho officially opened the dialogue. Mrs Thope Matobo, the FANRPAN Lesotho Node Coordinator, gave welcoming remarks. They both emphasized the importance of developing relevant policies to react to the changing climate. Dr Mokhuthu highlighted the need for Basotho farmers to start learning about CSA in order to meet the national needs. FANRPAN project leader Dr Sepo Hachigonta gave a brief overview of FANRPAN’s coordinating role in various related projects across the subcontinent on CSA. He explained what CSA is, climate change as well as climate vulnerability.

35 participants from various institutions and stakeholders in Agriculture which included Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Lesotho Meteorological Services, Lesotho College of Agriculture, National University of Lesotho, World Vision, Lesotho Farmers Union, Department of Agricultural Research, Department of Environment, Caritas and others attended the dialogue.

The consultants commissioned to conduct a scoping study on CSA policies in Lesotho ,– Patrick Gwimbi, Puseletso Likoetla and Puleng Matebesi, presented findings. The study recommended Lesotho must enact a climate change policy and response strategy and put in place institutional arrangements and legal structures on climate change which include all ministries and sectors of climate change. The absence of climate change policy and strategies has made it difficult to guide and implement climate change activities in the country. This has led to duplication of efforts, insufficient cross-sectoral coordination within the Government and non-governmental sectors, weak implementation and enforcement of policies and legislation

The participants validated the study through a participatory approach and highlighted the strengths and weakness of the study. The recommendation was that the outputs of the study should be packaged in a way that will be understandable to policy makers and be made available to local libraries.

Mr Kanono Thabane, programme assistant at FANRPAN, introduced the SECCAP project to the stakeholder and presented the SECCAP outputs. The SECCAP outputs revealed that the mean temperatures in Lesotho will increase by 1.9 degrees Celsius as compared to the current average annual temperatures in Lesotho. In addition. Mean monthly rainfall for Mohale’s Hoek - Lesotho is projected to increase slightly during the summer cropping season (October – April), peaking towards the end of the season (March and April). The means that Maize and sorghum yields in Maphutseng – Lesotho are projected to increase on average by 8 and 51 % respectively. The results from SECCAP show that if farmers don’t adapt to such changes in the climate, then 15.5 percent of the total population of Maphutseng is subject to face chronic poverty by 2050. The study recommends that farmer should change their planting season and shift towards December as an efficient adaptation strategies. The dialogue welcomed the studies and further discussed what the results meant for Lesotho and pulled out key messages. The stakeholders then recommended that the target audience for SECCAP output should be policy makers and academia. It was further suggested that policy briefs be developed targeted at policy makers while journal articles should be packaged in booklets and circulated in different institutions of higher learning.

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