With the theme “Sustainable Investment in Agriculture – Gateway to Food Security and Prosperity and a Vehicle to Growth,” Lesotho became the thirty fourth country to sign the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Compact. At the signing ceremony in Maseru, on 4 September 2013, different stakeholders pledged to increase investment in Lesotho’s agriculture through the precepts of CAADP.
By signing the Compact, Lesotho has committed to achieving the goal of raising agricultural productivity by six percent and ensuring that ten percent of their budget is allocated to agriculture. Speaking at the event, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Litsoane Litsoane said, “The Lesotho CAADP Compact marks an important milestone in the long journey towards the transformation of the agriculture sector.”
Lesotho has now become the sixth country within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to sign a Compact, which is an agreement between Ministries of Agriculture and Finance, non-state actors and the private sector on the priorities and strategy for a country’s agricultural development.
CAADP, endorsed by African Heads of State through the African Union in 2003, aims to stimulate the reforms necessary for agriculture to have a positive impact on socio-economic growth and sustainable development.
According to Lesotho’s census report, 76 per cent of its households depend on subsistence farming, with only nine per cent of the country’s available land being arable. It is in this light that the government recognises the importance of prioritising agriculture and food security and have therefore outlined this goal in their vision for the year 2020 and their National Strategic Development Plan.
With the CAADP Compact signed, the government of Lesotho will now embark on the process of facilitating the development of quality investment programmes for both the agriculture and rural development sector.
The CAADP Compact signing event was attended by the Lesotho Prime Minister, Dr. Motsoahae Thabane, later represented by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Litsoane Listoane. Other stakeholders present included representatives from the African Union Commission, NEPAD Agency, SADC, development partners, the private sector and the National Farmers Union.
The stakeholders at the ceremony also pledged their continued support, not only in the CAADP implementation process but in resource mobilisation and technical support, in order to strengthen the process of bringing food security to Lesotho.