oa Africa Insight - Some recent agricultural developments in Lesotho

Volume 3, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



Lesotho can be divided into three ecological zones: mountains, foothills and lowlands. Out of a total area of 30 333 km2, about 80 per cent is mountainous and used mainly for summer grazing, although an increasing area of this has been cultivated in recent years. There are few roads and the 300 000 inhabitants of the mountain regions are obliged to transport themselves and their products over bridle paths and tracks. The foothills average about 2 100 metres and are deeply dissected. Some cropping land is on slopes which are far too steep for cultivation. The lowlands consist of an undulating plain mainly in the western part of the country. Both lowlands and foothills have been subjected to many decades of over-cultivation, and especially over-grazing, and consequently crop yields are poor. Patches are usually only left fallow when yields have become so low and erosion so severe that cultivation is no longer worthwhile.

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