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VIDEO: Smart farming in a mountain kingdom


Smart farming in a mountain kingdom


STORY NAME: SMART FARMING IN A MOUNTAIN KINGDOM

LOCATION: SOUTHWESTERN LESOTHO, SETIBING

DATE SHOT: 16/10/2022

SOUND: NATURAL SOUND WITH ENGLISH AND SESOTHO SPEECH

DURATION: 3:31

SOURCE: BIRD STORY AGENCY

RESTRICTIONS: NONE

ASPECT RATIO: 16.9

ORIGINAL FRAME RATE: 24 fps (progressive).

 SHOWS: T'SANA TALANA RANGELANDS, SOUTHWESTERN LESOTHO (RECENT, NATURAL SOUND WITH ENGLISH AND SESOTHO SPEECH) (BIRD STORY AGENCY - ACCESS ALL)



SHOTLIST

 

1. FARMERS SCALING AND FILLING UP THE BAGS WITH WOOL


2. SHEEP GRAZING ALONG THE RANGELANDS


3. SOUNDBITE (SESOTHO SPEECH): Ramoroa Sekeleme, Tšoaranang-ka-Matsoho Makhaleng Grazing Association Chairperson, saying:

“The invasion of the shrub started spreading around 2011, which is when we realised that we have a serious challenge of an attack us until 2015 during the severe drought when the situation got worse..”


4. THE SHEEP IN THE RANGELANDS.


5. SOUNDBITE (SESOTHO SPEECH): Ramoroa Sekeleme, Tšoaranang-ka-Matsoho Makhaleng Grazing Association Chairperson, saying:

“It affected it negatively, production went down. The weight of my wool was very low measured at the shearing shed.”


6. SHEEP CROSSING A STREAM


7. SHEPHERDS MEASURING THE WOOL


8. SOUNDBITE (SESOTHO SPEECH): Ramoroa Sekeleme, Tšoaranang-ka-Matsoho Makhaleng Grazing Association Chairperson, saying:

“We established an association called Tšoaranang-ka-Matsoho Makhaleng Grazing Association acting on the advice of the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority. “


9. SHEEP GRAZING ALONG THE RANGELANDS


10. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH SPEECH) Phomolo Lebotsa Wool and Mohair Promotion Project officer saying:

“Lesotho is a country that has always prided itself on production of wool and mohair. What can we do to help those farmers that even as we live in the reality of climate change, it should not adversely affect their production. So we are saying even though we have climate change, how can we capacitate our farmers to see in spite of climate change, we should still continue to produce wool and mohair as we used to but more importantly to improve the quality and quantity that we are seeing.


When we look at production, either wool and mohair, we look at both the individual farmer but also we want to look at the country as a whole. So what we are trying to do, as a project is to ensure that individual farmer increases productivity.”


11. FARMERS FILLING UP THE BAGS WITH WOOL


12. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH SPEECH): Phomolo Lebotsa Wool and Mohair Promotion Project officer saying;

“One of the strategies that we as a project have come up to support them is what we call, grazing associations. So what they do is they go to communities and they encourage the people in the communities to come together to form a grazing association.”


13. SHEEP GRAZING IN THE RANGELANDS


14. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH SPEECH): Phomolo Lebotsa Wool and Mohair Promotion Project officer saying:

“Another strategy is that now we are now saying, let us go to the farmers themselves and help them in their capacity to improve their appreciation, their understanding of climate-related issues but to also now specifically give them skills of when they plan, they should plan bearing in mind what the weather forecasts says.”


15. SHEEP CROSSING A STREAM IN THE RANGELANDS.


...............................


STORY:


Ramoroa Sekeleme, a farmer in the T'sana-Talana Rangelands of southwestern Lesotho, has depended on wool and mohair income for a living, for over two decades.


However, in 2011, climate change became a reality for him.


"The shrub invasion started spreading around 2011. That is when we realised that we have a serious challenge. In 2015 we were attacked by a severe drought which worsened the situation," he explained.



"With no grass for the sheep to feed on, It affected production negatively. The weight of my wool was very low measured at the shearing shed," he added.


Sekeleme and his farming colleagues established the Tšoaranang-ka-Matsoho Makhaleng Grazing Association on the recommendation of the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority.


Sekeleme, who is the group's chair, said that the association has helped smallholders like him preserve the rangelands since its establishment in 2019. The association has also benefitted from a partnership with Lesotho's Wool and Mohair Promotion Project,


The project is a country-wide initiative to boost resilience to climate change and economic shocks among smallholder wool and mohair producers in the mountain and foothill regions of Lesotho.


According to project officer Phomolo Lebotsa, the 7-year initiative seeks to increase the quality and quantity of wool and mohair produced by farmers.


"Lesotho is a country that has always prided itself in the production of wool and mohair. However climate change threatened this economic activity prompting the government to develop a plan to build resilience," he explained.


Climate-smart rangeland management has been implemented through grazing associations, most of which are certified by the government.


Farmers in these associations get access to practical information on rangeland management using climate-smart approaches.


"Where there is a grazeland association, the rangelands there are invariably in a better position compared to places without grazeland associations," said Lebotsa.


The project has also built capacity for the country's weather forecasting department, purchasing ultra-modern forecasting equipment; to ensure farmers get accurate information on weather patterns for adequate planning.


Besides, farmers under the project are trained in fodder production, easing the consumption and dependence pressure on the rangelands, which threaten the quantity and quality of the wool and mohair.



"We have different types of fodder all of which best thrive in different weathers. If weather forecasts show we will have rains for a long time, and then we advise the farmers to plant the type that best grows in that climate," explained Lebotsa.


Before the project, much of the rangelands were strained, making the unpalatable species overgrow.


While grazing associations were, in their small capacities trying to correct the encroachment by these foreign species, Lebotsa explains that the project has fast-tracked the process.


"When we started, the unit wool and mohair yield per animal was less than 3kg but today, 7 years later, the yield is more than 4kg," he said


Sekeleme and his farming colleagues acknowledge that they generate higher incomes and more sustainable livelihoods from the project.


"Yes, There is a positive change. The change is quite impressive. In the past year alone, there was a sizeable positive improvement in our income," said Sekeleme.


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