Liapeng Raliengoane

QUTHING – The communities around Sebapala Sub-Catchment are set for transformation through the implementation of the Integrated Watershed Management for Improved Agro-Pastoral Livelihoods project at Tosing which guarantees employment and business opportunities for such communities.

This M88 million worth project is executed by the Ministry of Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation. Its main objectives are to mainstream sustainable rangeland management and restoration into the use of watersheds to combat land degradation, enhance the flow of agro-ecosystem goods and services and improve the livelihoods of agro-pastoral communities in the Sebapala Sub-catchment in the Lower Senqu Basin.

In the project brief, Project Manager Ratšele Ratšele revealed that this project started in June 2022 and is expected to go on until August 2026. It is supported by the government of Lesotho and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

He indicated that the purpose of this project is to address the interlinked issues of land degradation, livelihoods, food and water security. “This program promotes catchment-wide planning and community-driven action at sub-catchment level to ensure integrated management of land and water resources in this area,” he said.

Ratšele further specified that this project is for Quthing and will work hand in hand with local communities, adding that it will create opportunities for community members, restore the environment and promote gender equality.

The District Council Chairperson ‘Mantolo Nkuebe applauded the executors of this project and urged the communities to take heed of the project as it will help them as farmers and members dependant on animal farming because it will improve the area’s rangeland, thus good for their animals.

On behalf of UNDP Representative, Fusi Tšeliso Tšoeu expressed that as UNDP, they have a long history of working with the Ministry of Forestry. He stressed UNDP’s commitment to support the government of Lesotho in this project. 

Quthing District Administrator (DA) ‘Mapaseka Khesa Masupha said this project will go a long way in helping reduce poverty and for villagers to become sustainable. “When the environment is taken care of and the animals have a flourishing land to graze on and the community members will kiss good bye to poverty and hunger.”  

Member of Parliament for Sempe Constituency Hon. Lehlohonolo Mosoang expressed gratitude for the project which will come in handy for the communities. He stressed the importance of job creation in order for Basotho to stop seeking jobs in South Africa and pointed out the importance of planting trees.   

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation Principal Secretary Dr. Kamoho Matlama asked the community policing members to work together with all villagers in ensuring the protection of the project in their area.

The Sebapala Integrated Watershed Management for Improved Agro-pastoral Livelihoods project in the Sepabala Sub-catchment was launched last week at Tosing in Quthing.