The agriculture sector in Lesotho plays the critical role in the economy, and is the main source of employment and income for the majority of rural households. In recognition of the importance of the agriculture sector with regards to job and wealth creation, it is necessary that agricultural policies are based on sound information.
It is in this regard that the development of the Strategic Plan for Agricultural and Rural Statistics for Lesotho is essential to address agricultural data needs. The Global Strategy is an initiative to improve agricultural and rural statistics adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission in 2010.
This strategy provides a framework and blueprint to meet current and emerging data requirements and needs of policymakers and other data users. It is in the context of this framework and the Action Plan for Africa of the Global Strategy that Lesotho undertook to develop Strategic Plan for Agricultural and Rural Statistics for Lesotho (SPARS_LES).
The SPARS_LES sets out medium and long term objectives and targets for the development of agricultural and rural statistics, covering all the sub-sectors (crops, livestock, forestry, range and environment). The achievement of these objectives and targets will have an impact in many ways but most importantly in assisting policy makers to make decision on a well informed manner and to monitor and evaluate the impact of agricultural policies and programmes.
This strategic document has been designed in a participatory and inclusive manner. The preparations of this plan were undertaken by the key stakeholders, and thanks to the technical and financial support from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Technical working groups were formed at the subsector level and they comprised stakeholders in the National Agricultural Statistical System (NASS), which are involved as producers, users or both. Each of the technical working groups contributed in a comprehensive manner during the in-depth assessment of agricultural statistics in its subsector and developed an Action Plan accordingly. Both the Assessment and Action Plans reports are used to inform the development of the SPARS_LES.