By Matṧeliso Phulane
The Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro has decried the abandonment of development projects after completion plunging the government to incur huge expenses to revive the development.
This emerged during Majoro’s speech on Tuesday last week when officiating at the launch of the Regeneration of Landscape and Livelihoods Project (ROLL) in Ha ‘Matholoana in the Berea district.
Majoro was at pain that several projects have been left unattended once the funders leave with the likelihood of sponsors hesitating to continue supporting the development projects.
“My only regret is that we are doing this intervention following a regretful state of negligence as Basotho, because we started where our nature was precinct and we let it degrade. Now we are coming back to restore,” Majoro enthused.
He stressed that while poverty was clawing on the country, it is also battling climate change effects which result in loss to ecosystem and prevent proper land use.
“The problem also leads to the new plants’ diseases, longest drought as well as changes in rainfall patterns. I therefore urge people to protect the pastures, land and wetlands because they are all sources of water in this country,” he said.
Majoro revealed that nearly 68 000 people are to benefit from the project, and was grateful for support rendered by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for interventions in restoring land for the livelihoods.
At the occasion, the project manager of ROLL from the ministry of forestry, range and soil conservation, Mofihli Motṧetṧero, said the aim of the project is to transform the landscape and livelihoods by adopting sustainable land management practices.
That, he warned, will lead to enhanced flow of agro-ecosystem goods and services, climate change resilience and household income.
“Through ROLL, we aim tackle the climate change, revitalize the environment and nature conservation. It will also support agricultural production in the process of rehabilitating land and planting fruit trees which will assist Basotho to generate their own income as well as improving nutrition,” he suggested.
Motṧetṧero said the project is to run for an eight-year period and is funded by IFAD, Global Environment Facility, Food and Agricultural Organisation as well as the government of Lesotho.
“This project is funded with an amount of US$46 million. It is to be implemented in the six districts of Botha-Bothe, Leribe, Berea, Thaba-Tseka, Qacha’s Nek and Quthing.
“And there will be three catchments within each district, except Quthing where we will prioritize a place called Letṧeng- la-Letsie only. It is a very attractive place and holds great potential for tourism,” he observed.
He was adamant that the multimillion project will capacitate on filling in of dongas to prevent soil erosion, planting fruit trees and fire woods and also protecting pastures and wetlands.
It is expected that training will be conducted by experts while those working on the implementation will be paid to earn a living.
On behalf of IFAD regional director of east and southern Africa division, Sara Mbago-bhunu said IFAD has been supporting Lesotho for more than 40 years in the efforts of fighting rural poverty and hunger with ROLL being one of those measures to combat poverty.
Mbago-bhunu also stressed that the project will focus on eco-system which is mostly important particularly in dealing with climate change.
“The eco-system in ROLL projects is not only happening here in Lesotho but as IFAD, we are actually rolling them out across the region because we recognize how important they are.
“This project will offer the human-centred approach, focusing on mutually reinforcement relationships between people and nature. ROLL proposes an innovative programme based on the principle of shared responsibility and according to each other’s respective capacities,” she said.
Mbago-bhunu further said the principle of shared responsibility in according to each other’s respective capacity is relied on successful past experiences in other countries.
The outreach target includes 350,000 hectares of land under climate resilience practices and 68, 000 households directly or indirectly supported by the project activities, she added.
Mbago-bhunu that the project is to immensely contribute in addressing climate concerns such as fighting global warming.
“It will also help in the unique way in terms of capacities with regard to climate finance. As a result, we will be able to test the innovations under the programme and also sustainable finance over the course of the project and beyond,” she said.
She suggested that through the development of the strategic plan communities will be guided in selection of activities to help them fight malnutrition in all its forms. Women and breastfeeding mothers in particular will be capacitated to play central role.
“IFAD is ready to share this challenge and is committed to do all that is necessary to make ROLL a success,” Mbago-bhunu concluded.