Maseru, March 2014 – The community of Fika le Mohala on the outskirts of Maseru, Lesotho is to benefit from a Bee business brought by sustainable land management project in the area thanks to African Union, TerrAfrica, UNCCD, UNDP, FAO, UNEP and the Ministry of Forestry and Land Reclamation in Lesotho. Over 2 200 indigenous Cheche Bush trees (Lesotho bee keeping trees) were planted on about 3 hectares of land during this year’s Africa Environment /Wangari Maathai Day. This day is yearly celebrated by African Union on March 03. This was the 12th consecutive year that Maseru has hosted the commemorations since 2002, when the African Union Assembly Heads of State and Government in Durban, South Africa adopted them.
This year’s theme was “Enhancing Agricultural Productivity and Food Security”, which aims to raise awareness on desertification and sustainable land management among all stakeholders at community, national, regional and continental levels. AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Mrs.Tumusiime Rhoda Peace graced the event. Mrs. Tumusiime highlighted the need for rational utilization of natural resources including water and land in order to secure agricultural development in Africa. “Unless we step up practical messages to ensure that our productive lands are preserved and degraded lands restored, nothing would stop agriculture in Africa from encroaching on existing forests to meet the increasing demands for land and other resources vital for livelihoods” she stated in her address.
The Commissioner recalled that 2014 is the African Union Year of Agriculture and Food Security and the tenth Anniversary of the existence of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), which has sustainable and water management as one of its pillars. TerrAfrica, African Union, UNDP, UNCCD and UNEP also hosted a 2-day media awareness workshop along the margins of the commemoration. Up to 20 Journalists from within the TerrAfrica partner countries and beyond benefited from this workshop.
The 2014 commemoration of the African Environment and Wangari Maathai Day were finally celebrated by a field visit to models of good SLM practice within Lesotho, including one farmer in Teyateyaneng who solely constructed a man made water-pond over four years worth 19 000 Liters capacity. Lesotho is one of TerrAfrica Partnership beneficiaries and has recently had its Cost Benefits Study funded by TerrAfrica.