Agriculture And Food Security Programme

Background

The programme helps empower communities through improved food security, health and nutrition, and thus contributes to integrated rural community development. We seek to improve conditions in rural and peri-urban areas through development of capacity, skills, and values within these communities, to meet long-term goals of sustainable development and poverty alleviation using a sustainable livelihood approach. Thembalethu Development designed an Agriculture and Food Security Programme targeted at communities, households, and emerging farmers to help increase income through commercial farming and improve their food security through homestead gardens. . The emerging farmer support component of the programme increases economic opportunities for individuals and groups of farmers by building on existing assets.

Approaches

  • We conduct a baseline survey to understand the current food production capacity and needs of the target beneficiaries. The survey assesses the food security and nutrition status of the target households;
  • We develop work plans based on the capacity, needs and production targets of the beneficiaries;
  • We allocate a mentor to the beneficiaries who provides on-going mentoring support to the beneficiaries, from production to harvesting;
  • We link beneficiaries to suppliers and consumer markets.
  • Current and past experiences
  • We are implementing the Mohale’s Hoek Food Security Project (MFSP) in Mohale’s Hoek, Lesotho. The project started in 2009 with funding support from AngloGold Ashanti (AGA). The funding ended in December 2011. Thembalethu Development secured further funding from the Anglo American Platinum Lefa La Rona Trust (LLR) for the implementation of exit strategies ensuring project sustainability. The project has achieved the following: 720 households enrolled in the exit strategy phase; six (6) centres of excellence are established and branded; 595 project beneficiaries received skills through training  in various agricultural production aspect; 304 received technical training support and skills in piggery, poultry, beekeeping, marketing and Village Savings and Loans (VSL); 291project beneficiaries participated in community sensitization and awareness campaigns on adaptive strategies to the changing environment and climate change; 205 households received business agri-packs; vegetable seeds and seedlings; chicks, piglets, beehive and animal feeds; and 608 women are participating in various project activities and for household food production and income generation.
  • In December 2015 the government of Lesotho declared the country’s state of food emergency and water shortage as a result of the prevailing drought since October 2015. The project has attracted the interest of local partners, particularly World Food Programme (WFP) who recently signed an MoU with Thembalethu Development for partnership to respond to the current situation that the country is going through and also to strengthen the ongoing MFSP livelihoods projects and expand its support to people living with HIV and TB patients with food assistance, health and nutrition counselling in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
  • We are implementing a food security project funded by the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) in South Africa, at Mhlontlo Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape. The overall objective of the Mhlontlo NLDTF Food security project is to improve food security and income potentials of rural emerging farmers by developing 13 small and emerging farmers, in the communal areas of Qumbu and Tsolo, to become value adding, self-reliant and sustainable cooperatives and agri-business enterprises for both local and external market. This includes training of beneficiaries and provision of agri-packs.
  • With funding from CARE Lesotho and the United States Agency for International Developments. Food for Peace Program, we implemented a Food-for-Assets project between 2003 and 2005 in four southern districts of Lesotho where we assisted 3 500 households to create food gardens as a response to the on- going food security crisis in the country; and

  • We implemented an emerging farmer support programme in northern KwaZulu-Natal and in the Eastern Cape where we assisted smallholder farmers and livestock owners to improve production and income through value-adding services.


Mhlontlo NLDTF Food Security project: Cabbage fields