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Lesotho to get its first-ever electronic Farmer Registry

Lesotho is going to have it’s first-ever National Farmer Registry, technically and financially supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

It has been implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. In order to execute the project, data collectors are gathering data of each household, including the names of the family members, area of residence and the kind of farming they do – livestock rearing or growing crops. 

“The government did not have a database of all the farmers in the country, and without data you cannot make any informed decisions. The new electronic registry will help us to identify who does what and where. For instance, we will know how many farmers are in substance farming, diary, piggery and other agricultural commodity value chains,” said Maoala Khesa, national project coordinator from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

The data collection tools being used were developed by government stakeholders in the agriculture sector. The registration of farmers is primarily covering their demographic data, main farming practices, and livestock ownership.

“The initiative is part of the larger project that seeks to establish ‘The Lesotho Integrated Agriculture Management Information System (LIAMIS)’ implemented by the Government of Lesotho and FAO. The LIAMIS is expected to provide a cost-effective method for farmers to access various agricultural services, while building a database of all farmers in Lesotho for improved planning and targeting of interventions,” said David Mwesigwa, FAO Emergency and Resilience Coordinator in Lesotho.

Farmer Registry and its importance

Farmer Registry, is a web-based application that includes verified farm data, ensuring that only eligible farmers can access government subsidies.

The system will have an offline platform which allows extension workers to register beneficiaries and upload the data into the national server once they have access to internet. The system will provide a clear farmer verification and approval procedures, with beneficiary lists accessible at district and national levels.

The platform facilitates government departments and private sector partners to verify farm-business eligibility for programmes, as well as assist in development of agriculture policy. Additionally, the system assists in rural poverty reduction by warranting those policies are more accurate, cost-effective and transparent.

The system will produce GPS coordinates to identify the precise geographic location of the farmer’s homestead and fields based on definition of who is a farmer.

To be recognised as a farmer for registration, the household should have either livestock, or land (rented, borrowed or hired), or both, exploited for income generation or for home consumption, or for both purposes.

Linking other systems

When completed, the system will support important components like agricultural mechanisation, routine food security monitoring, e-voucher system, e-extension services and generation of real time reporting.

This will allow the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to share information with farmers as well as receive questions related to disease surveillance within communities to enable early warning and better management of pests and disease outbreaks.