The Southern Mountain Association for Rural Transformation and Development (SMARTD) has announced the zeal to overcome poverty at the rural areas.
The association said this while outlaying its strategic plan for the year 2022 and 2023 last Friday at Qacha’s Nek where it mentioned its keenness to eradicate poverty by supplying rural people with agricultural equipment such as irrigation systems to combat soil loss.
SMARTD’s Program Coordinator Fako Fako said the organisation planned to achieve its mission and assignment of improving the livelihoods and sustainability for vulnerable members of the community.
He said this year marks a period of developing strategies that will help farmers to maintain their lives and to eradicate poverty within the local communities.
Fako further said the organisation planned to eradicate poverty through farming systems suitable for the mitigation of soil erosion. To enhance SMARTD farmers’ products so they can qualify for the international markets among others.
He said SMARTD focuses on the mitigation of poverty in most vulnerable families which include single orphans and double orphans, people with disabilities, highly poor people and the elderly people.
Meanwhile, SMARTD has managed to develop over 700 farmers both men and women. Furthermore 1,449 families were recorded to have been helped by SMARTSD in different categories.
He continued that 140 families were given local seeds to carry out the farming systems taught by SMARTD as part of the mission. About four members from Ha Mahabe, Seforong, ha Tlelaka and Tiping were also assisted with the irrigation systems to enhance their production.
Fako added that 600 fruit trees were also shared among 22 farmers.
“We had workshops for the farmers where we taught them how to enhance the production so that it qualifies for both local and international market. Petroleum jelly production, mutton and wool and mohair among others were included in the product enhancement,” he said.
Fako also mentioned that the family economy has been advanced in 204 families with 113 men and 91 women. He said most of these farmers are into wool mohair business while others are into met production and many more.
He mentioned that the organization has also met with the stakeholders such as BEDCO to implement some lessons that will help farmers to enhance their production.
He mentioned that for the fund raising the organization presented the proposals to the international donors and managed to attain one which is United Nations Development Program (UNDP) with the project called small grand program.
“The organization has now implemented the use of Facebook and has created the new website which will help world to locate the organization and know its works within the community,” he said.
Furthermore, SMARTD further educated the farmers on how they can store the local seeds in what they call seed banking making sure it does not get contact with the genetically modified seeds.
Speaking at the event, SMARTD former Managing Director Palo Mochafo said he is thankful that the organisation seems to make progress under the leadership of the new MD Matlotlis Phooko.
SMARTD is Non-Governmental Organization functioning in the Southern Region of Lesotho to enhance the economy of Lesotho by educating and helping the farmers to increase their productivity. The organization offers seeds and secures and encourages the use of the local seeds in Lesotho and the farming systems that are done without the use of chemicals to save the natural fertility of the soil.