The Rt.Hon. the Prime Minister Dr. Moeketsi Majoro with the Mohale's Hoek RVCC beneficiaries

The Right Honourable the Prime Minister, Dr. Moeketsi Majoro and the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr. Kemiso Mosenene (recently re-shuffled to position of Minister of Water) embarked on a tour of the selected sites of the Reducing Vulnerability from Climate Change (RVCC) Project in Mohale’s Hoek in October 2021. This is the first time that the Prime Minister reviewed the work done under the RVCC Project since its launch in 2015. As the Project is rounding up towards closure in December 2021, the timing of the Prime Minister’s Office tour could not have been more relevant.

Among the many activities on the Prime Minister’s itinerary was a visit to one of the RVCC beneficiaries in Maphuts’eng, Mohale’s Hoek, who received inputs and technical support from the RVCC Project to set up the permaculture farming at her home, Mrs. Malebohang Maribe. Her and other villagers were supported with shade nets and irrigation systems for vegetable production. Furthermore, the Project provided a number of inputs including seeds and seedlings, fertilizers and technical expertise to set up the state of the art  permaculture farming system. In her yard, she rears sheep and was provided with beekeeping boxes as well as chickens housed in a climate smart structure that allows them to roam on harvested plots to feed on pests as well as remaining roots while fertilizing the soil with dropping.

In learning about the support that the Project has provided to Malebohang and her fellow villagers, the Prime Minister assured all participants that food security is still possible amidst climate change, which has been compounded by the outbreak of COVID-19. He congratulated the beneficiary on her fortune and her ability to take up the opportunity to alleviate her family from poverty which will somehow infiltrate other villagers. He encouraged everyone to own and support the RVCC initiatives as the Project promotes sustainable farming, which will reduce people’s vulnerability to climate change as well as improve their livelihoods. Further, he said he was mostly impressed by the honey processing machine and sees it as the one of the products that can yield high income if handled with care.

On the other hand, the former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Officer embarked on a parallel mission to also see what RVCC has achieved in Shalane, Phamong in Mohale’s Hoek district and how those have touched the lives of the people. During his visit to the orchard that has also been established with assistance of  the RVCC Project, Mr. Mosenene encouraged villagers to desist fleeing to neighbouring towns in South Africa to work on the fields that produce fruits and vegetables under a  similar climate as Lesotho. He highlighted that Lesotho soil can produce food similar to that which is produced in South Africa and encouraged people to work on their fields instead of seeking jobs in South African farms. He said, “It is important that those who have seen the light in climate smart farming should teach and mentor other farmers to also use those methods whose yield will translate into reduced vulnerability to climate change.”

Mr. Mosenene further commended the beneficiaries of the orchard, Mr. Hlomelang Teane and his wife, for the job well-done and the interest to also train young people in fruit production farming. He pledged support to the community of Shalane for anything that can enhance the good work they have already started.  He further tasked his team to provide the necessary support to the farmers to ensure that what is started grows to prosper and remain sustainable even beyond Project closure.

The RVCC Project is implemented by the Ministry of Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation (MFRSC), in close collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and through financial assistance from Global Environment Facility (GEF). The Project explores various climate-smart land rehabilitation and management programmes and interventions in the Lithipeng, Khoelenya and Thaba-Mokhele Community Councils of Mohale’s Hoek district.

Communities are beginning to see the objectives of the project becoming a reality through the benefits they continue to reap. Those include honey production which is sold to local and international market, vegetables production for household food security of which some end in the market. Over and above the economic benefits of the RVCC Project to different households, the Project has also impacted the communities positively as they are now able to eat balanced and nutritious meals throughout the year. The communities have also been trained on food preservation, which helps them to eat balanced meals throughout the year and avoid waste.

Mr. Teane narrated his story on how he started and said that when the Ministry introduced the Project to him, he bought land to be ready to start fruits farming. He the planted different varieties of fruit trees totalling  approximately 680 trees, which included apples, pears and peaches. Only 400 trees survived and have yielded fruits that has been consumed by family and sold to local customers. He then trained the youth in the area on crop farming, particularly fruits and vegetables. The group of youth has since started food production in Shalane.

The Constituency Representative for Phamong, Mr. Lebohang Kompi, pleaded with his people to protect the orchard with everything they have as this can be exemplary to other farmers. He shared that the most common practice for youth is to seek jobs in South Africa, where most of them are employed by crop farmers. He said, “if we need to understand that mostly, our environmental make up is very close to that of Cape Town where many of our youth seek jobs. Let us educate people to love their country more and work on their fields to produce food for their families and to sell to local market”, he said.

RVCC Project is aimed at assisting the Government of Lesotho to adopt environmental management practices that promote a low-carbon, climate resilient economy and society, sustainability in the management of natural resources and reduced vulnerability to disasters. It is intended to mainstream climate risk considerations into the Land Rehabilitation Programme of Lesotho for improved ecosystem resilience and reduced vulnerability of livelihoods of climate shocks. 

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