A Private Sector Requirements and Capacity Needs Assessment to Facilitate Market Access for Smallholder Farmers in Lesotho, Incorporating Digital and Green Technology Requirements

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Advance Africa is currently contracted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to conduct an Assessment of Smallholder Farmer Capacity Needs and Private Sector Market Requirements in Lesotho, to facilitate agricultural value chain development and market access

The UNDP’s value chain programme in Lesotho aims to promote sustainable green livelihoods through the development of local agricultural value chains and supplier development systems, and to create opportunities for youth in the application of clean and digital technologies to increase the volume and quality of locally-produced food. The programme forms part of the UNDP’s project on Promoting Green Economy through value chains, to aid in national efforts towards post-COVID-19 economic recover in Lesotho. For this project, the UNDP is working with Medium and Small Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) and smallholder producers to promote livelihoods and job creation through sustainable management of natural resources, and to promote agriculture-based economic activities for food self-sufficiency and commercialisation. The project is being piloted in the Mohale’s Hoek district. 

To assist in refining the methodology for the project, and to ensure a successful agricultural Supplier Development Programme (SDP), Advance Africa has been contracted by the UNDP to undertake (i) an assessment of smallholder farmers’ capacity in the Mohale’s Hoek District, and private sector market requirements for agri-value chain products; (ii) an assessment of the digital finance ecosystem in Lesotho; (iii) based on these findings, prepare a model SDP for agri-value chain capacity building and support in the District, a key component of which will comprise the creation of linkages within value chains through the integration of innovative digital and green technology solutions. The empowerment of women and youth is a major focus of the model SDP.  

Lesotho is highly committed to the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Agenda. Commitment to this agenda is operationalised through Lesotho’s Second National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP II), which is aligned with the African Union Agenda 2063 and Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan. In the NSDP II, Lesotho has identified employment creation and inclusive growth as the overarching goals for combating poverty and inequality; and the key pillars for achieving this goal are covered by various United Nations SDGs. It is anticipated that the outcome of this project will contribute directly to the several SDGs, including:

  • SDG 1: No Poverty  
  • SDG 2: No Hunger
  • SDG 5: Gender Equality 
  • SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy 
  • SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth 
  • SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure