ICRA’s activities are normally in partnership with other organizations from both “North” and “South”. They include projects where we take the lead, and others where we play a supporting role. Typically our capacity development role supports broader rural innovation processes to help achieve Sustainable Development Goals.
Strengthening the national agricultural research and extension system of Lesotho
Mid 2015 - Mid 2017
Food and Agriculture Organization (TCP/LES/3503)
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Farming in Lesotho is continually declining because of a number of challenges that are a result of biotic and abiotic stresses like pest and diseases, soil degradations, soil fertility, and changing weather patterns that are aggravated by climate change. With the agricultural sector confronted by such challenges, the government of Lesotho requires a strong innovative system whereby science, in conjunction with the indigenous and local knowledge, can be used to generate knowledge that could be transferred to the end users towards improving productivity.
Several studies and reports have shown that the government has to strengthen the agricultural research capacity and extension services to achieve the above goal. As a result of this need in 2014, the Lesotho Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, approached the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to assist in strengthening the capacities of the national agricultural research, extension and education system. Through this, the FAO Technical Cooperation Programme, entitled “Strengthening national agricultural research and extension system of Lesotho” was developed. In the process, a series of challenges that needed to be addressed - permissible to empowering the national agricultural research and extension system, enabling it to play its fundamental sovereign functions and support the development of the agricultural sector were identified, among others, lack of collaboration amongst role players. Capacity development that would empower all stakeholders to collectively engage in making plans for the development of the agricultural sector was conceived to be the solution.
The project aims at strengthening Lesotho’s agricultural research and extension system to generate new knowledge and foster innovations that contribute to increased outputs in support and development of the agricultural sector.
Strengthening the capacities of the national agricultural research and extension system to undertake quality, relevant, effective and efficient integrated agricultural research for development that meets the needs and demands of farmers, policy and decision-makers.
ICRA, together with ARC, is responsible for the training. It will:
- Develop and deliver a capacity strengthening plan, tailored to the needs of research and extension systems in Lesotho, as idenitfied by stakeholders in Lesotho
- Strengthen technical and functional skills for planning, management andimplemenation of extension of 20-30 members of key stakeholder organizations
- Enhance the knowledge on agricultural innovation systems for a core group of researchers and extension managers/directors
- Help establish four functioning and/or strenghtening innovation platforms, on eis each agro-ecological zone, in two pilot districts
- Help identify concrete measures to facilitate institutionalization of IAR4D, further develop and integrate the Lesotho "Agricultural Innovation System" and establish a dialogue between research managers and policy makers for incorporating the measures into national policy and strategy plans.
Achievements to date
In 2015, a capacity development needs assessment was carried out with key stakeholders and a .a shared vision and capacity-strengthening plan was made, tailored to the needs and current situation in Lesotho.
During 2016, a series of IAR4D “learning cycles” will be carried out. ICRA’s philosophy is based on a) “learning by doing”, and b) multi-stakeholder collective action. All learning programmes will therefore be designed to fit within the context of ongoing research and extension programmes within Lesotho.
Published on: 13 - April - 2016