health

Oct. 26, 2021

LINEO MABEKEBEKE

4 min read

His Majesty advocates better nutrition in households

His Majesty advocates better nutrition in households

His Majesty King Letsie III

Story highlights

  • King says good nutrition improves relations in families
  • Project has strengthened climate change adaptation through improved watershed management

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HIS Majesty King Letsie III, the Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Special Goodwill Ambassador for Nutrition, says better nutrition has improved relations in households, wishing for the achievement of food security projects to spread across the entire country.

The King made these comments on Saturday while touring several project sites in Mafeteng and Thaba-Tseka where the FAO, a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) that leads international efforts to defeat hunger and improve nutrition and food security is implementing activities to restore land and water resources (ecosystem services) and improve food and nutrition security.

He said he is proud to have a special relationship with FAO, adding he sees tremendous change in the lives of the people where the project was implemented, further showing that the testimonies from the farmers themselves is a confirmation.

The project called Strengthening Capacity for Climate Change Adaptation through Support to Integrated Watershed Management in Lesotho was funded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) through the Least Developed Countries Fund.

The project has strengthened climate change adaptation through improved watershed management.

Implemented since 2015, it has promoted protection of land and water resources through an integrated approach and, strengthened and diversified the livelihoods of the most vulnerable people so that they can better respond to climate change impacts.

It has benefited local communities in most vulnerable livelihood zones by rehabilitating their rangelands and water sources and making them realise notable and progressive improvement in their production systems, especially in homestead vegetable production.

 As a result, communities produce enough fodder and have access to water both for their livestock and household use. Nutrition has improved, and they have been supported to engage in other income-generating activities to diversify their livelihoods.

During the tour, the king also inaugurated water storage tanks and animal drinking points constructed under the project to facilitate access to water for communities and their livestock.

He commended FAO for improving the lives of the communities, urging the communities to sustain the gains. 

Lesotho faces fragile and substantially degraded soils and disappearing vegetation. Farmers rely on rainfall for food production and for their livestock. FAO built infrastructure to help the vulnerable communities to access water through simple and appropriate water harvesting technologies such as ground water dams, roof water tanks, earth dams, and animal drinking points.

The farmers now have access to water to grow fodder for their livestock which has improved productivity.

“Conserving the rangelands has helped water recharge, and catchments have enough water for livestock and households. We now have healthy springs. We were trained to manage the rangeland including removing invasive shrubs that out-competed the growth of desirable and palatable grass species,” said the area chief of Linakeng in Thaba-Tseka, Chief Serobanyane Matete.

The benefiting households received chickens, rabbits, pigs, and assorted vegetable varieties to improve their household’s dietary composition.

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“We were trained to grow diverse varieties of vegetables in keyhole gardens and under shade net covers all year round. Our families now eat a balanced diet - eggs, meat, and vegetables. Conflicts in households have reduced drastically,” said ’Mamokeretla Sebeta of Matlatseng in Thaba-Tseka.

 “Our husbands and youth no longer want to move to urban areas to look for work because the project introduced us to income-generating activities that are more profitable,” she added.

In a bid to reduce burden on the environment, farmers were equipped with skills to engage in other income generating activities such beekeeping. Beekeepers received essential equipment such as beehives, protective gear, swarm catchers with telescopic handles, bee smokers, draining sieves, bee brushes and honey extractors.

The project also strengthened the technical capacity of national and district level staff and institutions on sustainable land and water management and climate-resilient livelihood strategies.

The four-year project worked with partners in the country including the Ministry of Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, the Ministry of Energy and Meteorology, the Ministry of Water Affairs, the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship, the Department of Environment and the National University of Lesotho (NUL).

 

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