LENAFU was created based on the need to have a coordinated apex umbrella body that would function as the eyes, ears and mouthpiece for farmers’ interests in Lesotho.
With the support of the then Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, representatives of district farmer association groupings, producer commodity associations (cooperatives), other non-state organisations and individuals with interest in agriculture, met and decided to establish a national farmers’ union.
LENAFU was registered as an apex body in 2008, started its activities in 2010 (with the support of the Support to Farmers’ Organisations in Africa Programme – SFOAP) and was officially re-launched jointly with the launching of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) compact process.
LENAFU’s membership was initially composed of 10 district farmers’ unions (DFUs), which themselves had been set up to facilitate the creation of the national body (LENAFU).
The Lesotho National Farmers Union (LENAFU) is now a conglomerate of farmer groupings in Lesotho namely 10 district farmer unions, 5 national commodity farmer associations and 2 national non-state actor associations/cooperatives. LENAFU enhances farmers' contribution in transforming agricultural sector in Lesotho. It seeks to achieve this by building farmer capacity, providing leadership, sharing information and doing advocacy. Since it was established, LENAFU has grown in terms of organizational development, popularity among farmers, recognition and programme relevance. It has a board democratically elected by farmers and has secretariat running an office in Maseru.
Societies ACT 1966
District Farmer Associations, Commodity based organisations and None State Actor groups/ cooperatives
District Farmer Associations
• Maseru District Agricultural Unity Assosciation;
• Bokaota Farmers Association – Mafeteng;
• Mohale’shoek Farmers Association;
• Quthing Farmer’s Association;
• Qacha’sneck District Farmers Assosciation;
• Thaba-Tseka District Farmers Association;
• Mokhotlong District Farmers Association;
• Mokhotlong District Farmers Association
• Botha-Bothe District Farmers Association
• Leribe District Farmers Association
• Berea District Farmers Association
Commodity based farmer Associations
• Lesotho National Wool & Mohair Growers Association
• Basotho Poultry Farmers Association
• Lesotho Pig Producers Association
• Lesotho Potato Association
• Lesotho Dairy Farmers association
Non State actor Groups (associations)
• Lesotho Young Farmers Association
• Federation of Lesotho Women Entrepreneurs
Individual farmer membership
60939 (source;LENAFU 2019)
55% women and 12% youth
Governance and structure
2. District Farmer Associations/ National Commodity and Non State Actors
3. Agricultural Resource Center Associations/ District Commodity Associations/ District Non state Actors
4. Community Based Organizations
5. Individual farmers
LENAFU is structured from the household level up to a national Level.
Different households are organized together to form a Community Based Organization (CBOs).
CBOs within an Agricultural Resource center come together to form Resource center Associations or District Commodity association.
The Resource Center Associations or District Commodity Association come together to form District Farmer Associations or National Commodity Associations.
District Farmer Associations and National Commodity Farmer Associations join to form LENAFU.
• Annual General Assembly (Congress). Members of the Congress (Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, ) are nominated by LENAFU member Associations. The General Assembly is the core engine of LENAFU as it is where the resolutions are made for the direction of the organization. The executive board is elected from the congress by members attending a congress. The executive board reports to the congress.
• National Executive Committee (NEC) or Board, constituted of a President, Vice President, Secretary General and 3 board members with no specific tittles. Members are elected from the congress and the process is governed by the constitution of LENAFU. Election is through a secret ballot. The board is given mandate by the congress and also reports to the congress
• LENAFU Secretariat, which runs the day to day operations of the organization at national level in close collaboration with the Board (National Executive Committee). The secretariat is headed by the Chief Executive officer who is also a link to the Executive board. CEO is employed by the board and sits in the board for reporting and also taking instructions for execution by the secretariat.
The LENAFU 2019-2024 strategic plan entitled "Empower the famer, transform agriculture" has four pillars:
Research and Communication
Advocacy and Policy Engagement
Farmer Mobilisation, Mentoring and Empowerment
Building Farmer Movement
STRATEGIC PILLAR 1: Research and Communication:
Purpose: To collect/solicit knowledge and provide up-to-date, reliable and farmer user-friendly information to LENAFU fraternity
Strategic Objective: To find latest developments in various sectors of agriculture and inform LENAFU membership promptly for timeous action to mitigate danger and maximize opportunities.
1. Develop a repertoire of relevant agri-news, repackage and devise means of making them easily accessible to LENAFU affiliates and farmers directly
2. Devise info/news share and dialogue among farmers and between them and leaders and service providers
3. Commission research on the status of Lesotho Cooperative Credit Union League, its viability for revitalization (or model) as a practical way of realizing credit to farmers, rural banks and eventually agricultural development/financing bank
4. Digitize farmer communication through conventional and social media and communication
5. Put products and other aspects of work of LENAFU members on the public space and promote buy local slogans and campaigns
6. Popularise work of LENAFU members and promote members’ products
STRATEGIC PILLAR 2: Farmer mobilisation, mentoring and empowerment.
Purpose: To strengthen farmers work in the various components of agriculture in Lesotho
Strategic objective: Support farmer initiatives to maximise production, penetrate markets and get profitable returns.
1. Promote farmers’ pride and work in the agricultural sector
2. Develop, maintain and utilise farmers’ catalogue with profiles for intensified commodity production, coordination and market planning
3. Train and provide targeted back up support to farmers to maximise their potential in their specific areas of involvement in agriculture
4. Research on, expose farmers to and link them with different stakeholders and opportunities in value chain
5. Promote active participation of youth, women, people with disabilities (PWDs) and other vulnerable sectors of society in agriculture
6. Promote business entrepreneurial services and support to farmers
STRATEGIC PILLAR 3. Advocacy and policy engagement
Purpose: To break barriers to the realization of farmers’ needs and make their voices heard in the policy discourse in Lesotho.
Strategic Objective: Represent farmers and demand policy response to their challenges.
1. Do research on farmers’ challenges and opportunities advocate for policy response on land tenure system including applicability of Land Act
2. Train members on evidence based advocacy and support localized action
3. Take stock of and study policies that have bearing on agriculture and map necessary advocacy, implementation and monitoring action
4. Advocate for farmer-led policy response and implementation on farmers access to inputs, markets, finance, insurance and other enabling credit support
5. Demand sufficient farmer representation in the determination of agricultural sector policy, agricultural national mid-term and annual policy prioritization and budget, annual farming planning & evaluation
6. Campaign for farmer centered resource centre planning and management fully aligned to the local government dispensation
7. Run periodic, joint and time-bound campaigns on various issues concern to farmers
8. Amplify Lesotho farmers’ voice on national, regional, continental and global issues
STRATEGIC PILLAR 4: Building farmers movement.
Purpose: To develop a strong and reliable platform able to articulate and act upon farmers needs at local and national level.
Strategic Objective: Unionize all farmers and capacitate district, commodity, non-state and other emerging farmer categories to advance their representation& business facilitation function.
1. Commission LENAFU organizational and staff capacity assessment for realization of its strategy and swiftly implement recommendations
2. Support participatory development and implementation of LENAFU affiliate strategic plans feeding into the national strategy
3. Use affiliates to advocate for effective extension services on new technologies, climate change adaptation strategies, right subsidy targeting, fair distribution of opportunities
4. Train affiliates on evidence based advocacy that informs local and national advocacy programme
5. Collect and disseminate market, pricing and other necessary farmer related information to affiliates
6. Support affiliates to carry out farmers profiling and promotion for local and eventually national and regional markets
7. Unionize unaffiliated farmers, incorporate and promote emerging commodity/industries such as machinery, bee and agricultural service groups e.g marketing groups
8. Use agricultural college graduates, emerging farmers and farmers with potential as pioneers in making agriculture business and source of employment
Sectors of intervention and activities
1. Capacity-building and institutional support to members
2. Policy engagement, lobbying and advocacy
3. Provision of economic services
4. Communication and knowledge management
1. Capacity Building and Institutional support to members
- Training on corporate governance
- Train and provide targeted back up support to farmers to maximise their potential in their specific areas of involvement in agriculture
- Research on, expose farmers to and link them with different stakeholders and opportunities in value chain
- Promote active participation of youth, women, PWDs and other vulnerable sectors of society in agriculture
- Promote business entrepreneurial services and support to farmers
2. Policy engagement, lobby and advocacy
- Train members on evidence based advocacy and support localized action
- Take stock of and study policies that have bearing on agriculture and map necessary advocacy, implementation and monitoring action
- Advocate for farmer-led policy response
- Demand sufficient farmer representation in the determination of agricultural sector policy
3. Communication and Knowledge Management
-Information and news sharing and dialogue among farmers and between them and leaders and service providers
- Digitize farmer communication through conventional and social media
- Put products and other aspects of work of LENAFU members on the public space
- Popularise work of LENAFU members and promote members’ products
4. Provision of Economic Services
- Organize seller buyer meetings/ forums
- Negotiate for the markets for agricultural commodities
- Train farmers on business plan/ proposal development
- Train farmers on marketing
- Supply inputs to the farmers (obtained from the partners)
- Facilitate sharing/ dissemination of market information
- Establish linkages with agro dealers
Southern Agricultural confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU); Member associations of LENAFU; International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); Ministries of Agriculture and Food Security; Ministry of Small business Development, Marketing and Cooperatives; Pan African Farmers Organization (PAFO) through SACAU; World Food Programme (WFP).
Organizations: Southern Africa Confederation of Agriculture Unions (SACAU).
Other bodies or platforms: Lesotho coordination on trade (committee); Small holder Agricultural Development Project (Competitive grant committee); Reducing Vulnerability to Climate Change (Steering committee); National working group on agricultural cost of statistics (committee); National Climate Change Committee; National Conservation Agriculture Task force; National Farmer Registration (committee); Agricultural Productivity Programme for Africa (steering committee); Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CADDP) (National Committee).
- Farmers’ Organizations for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (FO4ACP), funded by the EU through IFAD, Pan African Farmers' Organization (PAFO) and Southern Africa Confederation of Agriculture unions (SACAU). The overall objective of the programme is to increase income and to improve livelihood, food and nutrition security and safety of organized smallholder and family farmers. The specific objectives of the programme are: (i) to improve the capacity of farmers' organizations (FOs) and farmer-led enterprises to provide technical and economic services to their members along the value chains; (ii) To enhance the capacity of FOs to influence policies and business environments for the transformation of family farming and the development of sustainable, adaptive economic initiatives and farmer-led enterprises; and (iii) to capacitate FOs to be accountable organizations to effectively perform their institutional functions.
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