Director of RSDA ‘Mampho Thulo and Monitoring
and Evaluation officer Lineo Lekhanya.
Writes: ‘Makarabo Mats’umunyane
The Rural Self-help Development Association (RSDA) is beginning the year with new strategies, new resolutions, and with all the foundational missions and goals being revisited. The past achievements are reviewed and amended for higher and better organizational goals. RSDA’s vision has always been to “be a leading agricultural advisory service agency that supports farmers in Lesotho by providing services, capacity building and advocacy support for sustainable climate smart agriculture, value addition and marketing of farmer’s products.” In line with vision 2020, RSDA has been laying up strategies toward achieving “a Lesotho where every person’s right to quality food is assured” and this has been upheld with high esteem. and all farmers that have worked hand in hand with RSDA. In the past years, RSDA has worked only in five districts namely: Maseru, Berea, Leribe, Mafeteng and Mohale’s Hoek.
Furthermore, the director of RSDA, ‘Mampho Thulo said that in the past year (2018), RSDA poultry farm managed to supply point-of-lay chicken in large quantities to poultry farmers. This was a great achievement for the fact that in many years they have been supplying chicks and point-of-lay chicken in small quantities. ‘Mampho further said that in the past RSDA was predominantly engaged in the dairy and poultry industries, but is now venturing into the fresh produce market. Going forward, it intends to expand its territory through organising associations of various sectors in agriculture from different districts which will stabilise farmers in Lesotho The year 2018 has been spent mostly in reviewing the work done with all the stakeholders to have their own resource centres where all things will be controlled at district level. On the same note, RSDA has already started to explore how the beans commodity works from farm until the beans reach the buyer. ‘Mampho said when they conduct a survey, it actually means they get into that business and explore different ways in it and whether there is insurance for that business.
Some of the indegenous chicken kept in Villages
They had their farmers to produce the beans and RSDA registered as a vendor under World Food Programme.They then started selling to Tasty food packers and according to ‘Mampho’s analysis, it is a commodity that they will continue in and encourage their farmers to carry it on. According to ‘Mampho, RSDA is also in a process of consulting with the other unattended districts which they aspire to work with. They seek to organise commodity associations in all the 10 districts of the country which will enable farmers to easily consult and know where to sell their products. In addition, they will also improve associations in all districts in terms of infrastructure and other necessary resources. Likewise, the Silo Expo, which is more of a national activity year in year out, shall then be tuned to cover different districts across the country as a form of mobilization for farmers. This shall be finalised with the organisers, but discussions have started a year ago In addition, it is also among the objectives of RSDA interventions to help farmers work harmoniously together with government entities.‘Mampho said that they observed that there is some sort of contention or friction in some areas between farmers and government entities where one party defies the other due to various reasons.
Apart from these, ‘Mampho said they have managed to apply for a renewal of the Lesotho Agric and Food Forum Project which provides funds for RDSA to participate in all advocacy spaces that they would wish to participate in. Advocacy spaces like those include NGO week, agricultural expos, shows and many more. As they participate in events like those, this helps their farmers to grow more and gain exposure into the community, hence helping the association to grow as well.
RSDA farmers at a gathering.