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LNDB and BUAN Sign MOU to Strengthen Lesotho’s Dairy Industry


Libuseng Molato

In a significant move to bolster Lesotho’s dairy sector, the Lesotho National Dairy Board (LNDB) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN). 

The formal agreement was signed in April at Lancers Inn, Maseru, marking a new era of collaboration aimed at enhancing the dairy industry in Lesotho.


Dr. Puleng Matebesi, the National Breeder from LNDB, explained the rationale behind choosing BUAN for this partnership saying BUAN is the third largest farm in Botswana, excelling in stud breeding research and business. 

“The partnership is expected to leverage BUAN’s extensive research capabilities and its established relationships with international agricultural organisations to boost Lesotho’s dairy industry,” she said.

Addressing Genetic Challenges

Dr. Matebesi highlighted the need to develop Lesotho’s genetic bank due to the genotype-environment interaction (GxE) that affects dairy cattle’s production quality and quantity. 

“Lesotho has been importing dairy cattle that do not thrive well in our environment, leading to reduced milk production,” she noted citing the collaboration aims to develop proper identification and recording systems to mitigate inbreeding depression and enhance dairy cattle breeding programs.

Strengthening the Dairy Value Chain

The MOU outlines a comprehensive plan to develop businesses along the dairy value chain, ensuring sustainability. “As BUAN excels in stud breeding, LNDB will learn and implement a structured breeding program, positioning a stud farm as the cornerstone,” Dr. Matebesi added.

Government’s Role and Vision

Abiel Mashale, CEO of LNDB, emphasised the government’s commitment to regulating and enhancing the dairy industry since 1995. 

“Lesotho’s fondness for livestock, especially cattle, has not translated into sufficient milk production. Over 80 per cent of our dairy products are imported from South Africa,” Mashale remarked.

He identified several challenges contributing to low production, including poor-quality dairy cow imports, lack of capacity building, expensive animal feeds, and insufficient fodder during dry seasons. To address these, LNDB has restructured to focus on dairy farmer capacity building, breeding, veterinary services, and milk processing quality.

Collaboration and Innovation

LNDB’s efforts include collaborations with the National University of Lesotho, Lesotho Agricultural College, and the Lesotho National Farmers Union. Notably, the ARC has funded developments in the dairy value chain. LNDB has also introduced artificial insemination (AI) services, increasing milk production to a level where raw milk imports for processing have been reduced.

“We have facilitated an increase in milk processors, adding fourteen small-scale milk processors. However, imported dairy products still dominate over 80 percent of the market. We aim to capture a larger market share,” Mashale explained.

Employment and Self-Sufficiency

Mashale stressed that improving dairy commercialisation could create more jobs. 

“LNDB’s strategic objective is to increase milk production to attain self-sufficiency. This agreement with BUAN is crucial to achieving our mandate,” he declared.

Learning from Botswana’s Experience

Mashale pointed out that Botswana’s extensive history in livestock development offers valuable lessons for Lesotho. “BUAN’s expertise in food science and technology makes it an ideal partner for enhancing our agro-processing capacity,” he said. Sharing research insights will help identify successful strategies and address failures.

BUAN’s Commitment

Professor Ketlhatlogile Mosepele, Vice Chancellor of BUAN, reiterated the university’s mission to facilitate food and nutrition security at national, regional, and continental levels. “BUAN produces innovative graduates and technological solutions for sustainable agricultural development. We aim to create a knowledge-based economy driven by technology and innovation,” Professor Mosepele stated.

He highlighted the university’s continuous expansion of programs to create a dynamic learning environment, benefiting Basotho students and fostering close cooperation with Lesotho’s institutions of higher learning.

Government’s Support

Moshe Mosaase, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security, and Nutrition, affirmed the government’s support for the partnership. “This collaboration marks a significant step towards achieving the National Development Goals (NSDP 2) to reduce poverty and enhance food security,” Mosaase declared.

The partnership between LNDB and BUAN is poised to transform Lesotho’s dairy industry, addressing critical challenges, improving self-sufficiency, and boosting economic development through sustainable agricultural practices.

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