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Title: The use of land resources for agriculture in Lesotho
Author: Makhanya, Edward Mbuyiselo
ISNI:       0000 0000 7422 9730
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1978
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Subsistence agriculture is the mainstay of Lesotho's economy, and about 85 per cent of the population depends on it. Of the agricultural activities crop raising is the most important. Agricultural land is owned comunally and crop land is, in principle, allocated equitably among the rural households. The prevailing population growth rate is about 2.2 per cent annual, although there has not been any significant increase in agricultural output or in the level of industrialisation. The initial purpose of the study was to examine land use changes between 1950 and 1976 in part of the Thaba Bosiu Rural Development area, using (a) air photo interpretation (b) field observation and measurement (c) field surveys and (d) questionnaire survey. Results showed that the nature of the changes in land use were symptomatic of a more serious problem of low agricultural production. Further examination of crop production revealed that productivity is low mainly because of adverse climatic conditions, soil erosion and poor management of the agricultural resources. The study demonstrates that the agricultural land resources are not effectively managed in Lesotho because their management is left largely in the hands of farmers who are technologically and financially ill equipped to cope with a rather harsh physical environment. To date efforts to improve the management level have shown little positive effects, mainly because the strategies adopted have not aimed at the core of the problem, namely, the poverty of the users of the land. Given limited development funds and alternative means of making a living, it is suggested that land management and crop productivity could be most easily improved by a system of collective farming, which would be in accord with many existing local institutions as well as being a system which could lead to economies of scale in the use and allocation of development funds.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral