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Assessment of the impacts and adaptive capacity of the Machobane farming system to climate change in Lesotho

Agriculture remains a major source of income for more than 80 per cent of the rural population in Lesotho, although the country’s arable land is only about nine per cent of the total land area. Moreover, the rural economy has been declining due to poor land and water resources management, unsustainable farming practices and unpredictable weather conditions. Communities living on marginal lands whose livelihoods depend on natural recourses are among the most vulnerable to climate change. The Machobane farming system (MfS), discussed in this paper, is a practice with high adaptability and resilience to climate change developed by Dr. Machobane in the late 1950s. In addition to documenting the historical, current status and future prospects of the system and its adaptability and resilience to climate change, this study also assesses the physicochemical and microbial characteristics of its soil, and presents the challenges and vulnerability of the Machobane farming system.