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Lesotho

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LSO
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Lesotho
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Lesoto
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Main Agency Acronym(s): 
DAR

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Lesotho: ASTI–DAR Country Factsheet

ASTI publicaiton cover

Authors:
Nienke Beintema, Maleoa Mohloboli, and Sandra Perez

Year:
2016

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute and Department of Agricultural Research

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

Related country page(s)
Lesotho

Declining research spending

Lesotho’s agricultural research spending contracted by one-third during 2009–2014 in inflation-adjusted terms. This was the result of declining government support to DAR— the country’s main agricultural research agency—and the cessation of research activities at MFLR in 2012. Despite declining spending, Lesotho invested 0.94 perecent of its AgGDP in agricultural research— in line with the 1 percent minimum level recommended by the African Union and the United Nations; this, however, reflects Lesotho’s small size, rather than a high commitment to agricultural R&D.

Lack of funding diversity

Over time, DAR has been almost entirely funded by the Government of Lesotho, but allocations have generally only covered the cost of staff salaries. Funding for the department’s research activities has been derived through small research grants and alliances with regional research agencies and CGIAR centers. Since 2014, however, the Government’s Agricultural Subsidy Program funded the construction and rehabillitation of laboratories, as well as the procurement of new equipment, at DAR.

Capacity strengthening needed

Lesotho, and especially DAR, has insufficient human resource capacity in agricultural research. As of 2014, only 12 percent of the country’s agricultural researchers were qualified to the PhD level. Moreover, staff retention is low based on poor remuneration packages and other incentives. DAR’s pool of researchers are young and inexperienced, and training and mentoring opportunities are limited. Resolving this issue is a priority at DAR, and some improvements have been made in recent years.

Tackling the many challenges

Lesotho needs a strong and innovative agricultural R&D system to address the many challenges confronting its agricultural sector. In July 2015, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security committed to a two-year collaborative project with FAO to strengthen the country’s research and extension capacity and enable it to undertake relevant, effective, and efficient agricultural research in support of farmers’ needs.

Department of Agricultural Research (DAR)

Please note: this page contained older contact information for this agency. Please visit our new Agencies database

Lesotho: ASTI–DAR Country Factsheet

ASTI publicaiton cover

Authors:
Kathleen Flaherty and Maleoa Mohloboli

Year:
2014

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute and Department of Agricultural Research.

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

Related country page(s)
Lesotho

The national government provided almost all of the funding for agricultural R&D between 2009 and 2011; donor funding, although minimal, is still an important source of support for actual research activities.

From 2009 to 2011, agricultural R&D spending contracted by 34 percent as a result of declining government funding to DAR, the main agricultural research agency in the country.

The share of agricultural researchers qualified to the PhD-degree level in Lesotho, at only 9 percent, is one of the lowest in Africa; lack of funding and locally provided PhD programs constrain staff development.


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