Municipal Institute Of LearningMILE - Municipal Institute Of Learning
Lesotho Farmers visit the EThekwini Municipality to learn new approaches for transforming the agricultural sector
The eThekwini Municipality ‘s Markets Unit with support from Business Support, Economic Development and the Parks Unit hosted a delegation of farmers and government representatives from Lesotho for an Agri-Business Learning Exchange. The event took place from 23-26 May 2017 at various locations.

The delegation comprised the Lesotho Famers organization, the Private Sector Foundation of Lesotho Farmers, the Rural Self-help Development Association (RSDA) and government representatives from Lesotho Department of Agriculture. Agriculture is one of the largest economic sector in Lesotho and the country is looking for new ways of transforming the commercial farming sector, and innovative approaches to supporting small-scale farmers. The objective of the Study therefore was to learn from the eThekwini Municipality‘s approach on developing and supporting the agricultural sector. 

​The Economic Development and Investment Promotion Unit facilitated a visit to the Dube Trade Agri-Zone where delegates were exposed to modern ways of farming time-sensitive produce and effective trade mechanisms to support commercial agriculture trading. Taryn –Muller, the Marketing Manager at the Dube Trade Agri-Zone and the delegation was far impressed by the commitment of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government in creating an enabling environment for farmers to thrive.  The City ‘s Parks Department hosted a Site Visit to the Newlands Agri-park where Mr. Thandrayen Mogaramuthu, a Chief Horticulturists showcased the innovation on supporting urban agriculture demonstrating water harvesting techniques. Mr. Justice Dlamini of the  Business Support Unit ‘organized a visit to the Ezimbuzini Livestock Market where delegates highly applauded the city ‘s approach on how they have organised the informal economy sector and the approach to  developing appropriate strategies to support communities.  

It was during the tour to the Durban Fresh Produce Market in Clairwood organized by Ms. Swazi Khumalo, the Marketing Manager of the facility where farmers conceded to the massive challenge of transforming the Lesotho agricultural sector. In his words, the Chairperson of the Lesotho Framers Association Mrs. ‘Mampho Thulo “This Study Tour has overwhelmed us, gave us a new perspective of possibilities, and  in many ways we will be able to craft a different approach to rethinking e our agricultural sector  approaches. Ms. Phakamile Mbonambi , the Programme Manager for the Agri-Business in Economic Development Unit ‘s presentation summarised the City ‘s approach to various agri-business projects, but most important  illustrated the value of building partnerships with other stakeholders and how that has yielded innovative and successful agribusiness for the City.  

Three key actions emanated from the Study Tour. With the support of FAO and Lesotho Department of Agriculture is committed to , (i) Organizing the farming community, (ii) Mobilizing for political leadership to support the agricultural sector and (iii) Reviewing various policy and frameworks for agriculture will be the top three things towards revitalizing and transforming agriculture in their country. On behalf of the delegation, Mr. Thabo Qhesi did not have enough words to thank the eThekwini Municipality for organizing the insightful, overwhelming and empowering Study Tour.
 
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