Lesotho Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Agriculture and fishing

The vast majority of Lesothians work in agriculture. Most people grow crops for their own use in small fields. The farming methods are outdated and the yield is low. Regular drought threatens the harvests.

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a tenth of the land area is sufficient for cultivation, although more than half can be used as pasture. Agriculture produces around one-fifth of the food that the Lesothians consume. The rest is imported, mainly from South Africa.

The most important crops are maize, sorghum, wheat, potatoes and beans. Tobacco is the most important export commodity from agriculture. Livestock management plays an important role, but the pastures are not enough. Lesotho exports good quality wool and mohair.

All agricultural land is owned by the king. Through local chieftains, the land is distributed among the farmers who lease it for one year at a time. Formally, all adult men have the right to lease a small piece of land. For Lesotho defense and foreign policy, please check prozipcodes.

There is very little forest left in Lesotho. Rapidly growing species of wood such as eucalyptus have been planted to counteract soil degradation. The population cuts down trees for firewood for house use.

Fishing has traditionally not been of major importance to Lesotho, but at Katsedammen, which belongs to the water project LHWP (see Natural Resources and Energy), there has been a fish farm since 2007 that has hundreds of employees and exports fish mainly to Japan. The rainbow trout that is grown is considered to be of very high quality thanks to the pure mountain water and plans are in place for a substantial expansion.


Agriculture’s share of GDP

6.1 percent (2017)

Percentage of land used for agriculture

77.6 percent (2016)

  • Abbreviationfinder.org: Offers how the 3-letter acronym of LSO stands for the state of Lesotho in geography.



Parliament is dissolved

King Letsie III dissolves Parliament ahead of the new elections to be held in February.


Settlement between police and military

South African mediator Cyril Ramaphosa tries to dampen the tensions in the country by persuading the military and police chiefs to temporarily retire and hand over the responsibilities to their deputy bosses. The settlement also includes the deposed military commander Kamoli (see August 2014).

New parliament opening

Parliament opens again. The opposition has agreed not to put any distrust vote against the government. Parliament will only adopt a budget and then be dissolved before the February elections.

New elections are announced

The parties announce that new elections will be held at the end of February 2015. The ordinary election would have been held in 2017.

Police and military clash

For the second time in two weeks, shootings between police and military occur in the capital. Two police officers are injured.


The head of government returns

Prime Minister Thomas Thabane returns to Lesotho under South African police protection but the tension remains. Deputy Army Chief Tlali Kamoli still refuses to accept his dismissal and is said to have moved up the mountains with a group of loyal soldiers.

Continued government crisis

South Africa mediates between Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, who lead various parties. The army is believed to be loyal to Metsing, while the police are considered to be on Thabane’s side. During the talks, Thabane and Metsing agree on an agreement to resolve the crisis and recall Parliament.

Prime Minister appeals for peacekeeping

Prime Minister Thabane appeals to the regional cooperation organization SADC to send a peacekeeping force to Lesotho. SADC says no to a peace force but agrees to send a group of observers.


Attempted coup attempt fails

Prime Minister Thomas Thabane flees to South Africa in connection with what appears to be an attempted military coup. Shotguns occur in the capital Maseru and soldiers surround the Prime Minister’s residence and several police stations. At least one police officer is killed. The turmoil erupts since Thabane dismissed the country’s army chief Tlali Kamoli and appointed Maaparankoe Mahao as his replacement. Kamoli refuses to resign. Mahao is subjected to a murder attempt in his home and goes underground.


Parliament dissolves after the government crisis

Disagreement within the government leads to a government crisis and coup dire. Prime Minister Thomas Thabane is accused by the other parties in the government coalition of not listening to other parties. When the largest coalition partner threatens to overthrow the government by a vote of confidence, Thabane dissolves parliament. After mediating the country’s church council, the coalition parties promise to try to continue to rule together.

Lesotho Agriculture and Fishing