Perspectives and impacts of land reclamation projects on the rural poor in Lesotho

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Mokone L Musi
Pascalinah Mokhothu
Tumelo Tsikoane

Abstract

Land degradation is a serious problem in Lesotho. This research was undertaken in three villages in the community council of Rapo-le-eboea in Maseru district to assess the perspectives and impacts of land reclamation projects on the rural poor in Lesotho using mixed methods. However the beneficiaries of land reclamation projects are the poor and vulnerable as intended; characterised by being women, married in customary laws, low educational attainment, and had marginal access to means of livelihoods. The study reveals that they do benefit from such projects although these can negatively impact access to fuelwood. The reclaimed areas did increase wool quality, grazing and the availability of medicinal plants. Beneficiaries value the contribution of such projects to their livelihoods and they also consider them to be effective at reclaiming degraded areas although there are some challenges facing the projects, including sabotage from neighbours not in the project. A major finding is that communities are generally not familiar with the Land Act 2010 which informs the projects. The study provides recommendations on how land reclamation projects and harmonisation of legal frameworks in Lesotho could enhance rural livelihoods.
Key words: Land Act 2010, Lesotho, land degradation, National Range Resources Management Policy 2014

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