Lesotho

Last updated: January 2019
  • Region Eastern and Southern Africa
  • UPOV membership status Member of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO); initiated the procedure for acceding to the UPOV Convention
  • Participation in OECD Seed Schemes No
  • ISTA accredited member laboratories No
  • GM crop approval for cultivation No
  • Law on Plant Variety Protection No
Seed sector in Lesotho

Agriculture employs 60% of the population in Lesotho and is a main source of livelihood for 90% of its rural population, with crop production representing 2% of GDP. Most farmers in Lesotho are smallholders, and their crop productivity is relatively low because of soil erosion, poor agricultural practices, recurring bouts of drought and increased cost of farming inputs.

The bulk of seeds sourced—maize (80%), sorghum (90%), beans (87%), wheat (90%) and peas (90%)—is farm saved. There is a community-based seed system that involves associations of individuals, often organized as a group or cooperative with the support of non-governmental organizations that assist with seed multiplication and establishing community seed banks. This is often done to support farming systems recovering from systemic stress, such as drought, pests or diseases, or to strengthen farmer-based systems with improved varieties or seed quality enhancing techniques.

The Department of Agricultural Research secures germplasm for evaluation, variety maintenance and production of basic seed, while the private sector multiplies and distributes seed to farmers.

Observations

With only six index companies operating in Lesotho, there is a low level of private sector activity, and only Seed Co carries out activities beyond sales with testing and extension services.

Index company activities identified in Lesotho
Company Crops in portfolio Company activities in country
Companies selected for
the Access to Seeds Index
Field
crops
Vegetables Breeding
location
Testing
location
Seed
production
Processing
location
Sales Extension
services
Capstone Seeds
Corteva Agriscience
Klein Karoo Africa
Monsanto
Sakata
Seed Co

Other companies identified in the regional landscaping study and their activities

Company Crops in portfolio Company activities in country
Field
crops
Vegetable
crops
Breeding
location
Seed
production
Sales
Lehakoe Seed Company