Do We Listen or Ignore Indigenous Practices? The Machobane Farming System - An Indigenous Farming Practice of Lesotho

Sissay B. Mekbib *

Department of Biology, National University of Lesotho, P. O. Roma 180, Lesotho.

Adesola O. Olaleye

Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Eswatini, Eswatini.

Masia Johane

Department of Livestock Marketing and Registration, Ministry of Agriculture, Maseru, Lesotho.

Taddese Wondimu

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Canada.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Aim: To evaluate the adaptive capacity of the Machobane Farming System, an indigenous practice to improve soil fertility and maize productivity compared to other non-Machobane farming practices.  

Study design: The study was conducted in four agroecological zones of Lesotho: Mountain, Foothills, low lands and Senqu river valley. Soil samples were collected at random from the non-Machobane farming practicing fields and Machobane farming practicing fields and the soil physicochemical and microbiological analyses were conducted to evaluate the soil quality. Structured and non-structured questionnaires were used to gather information from Focus Group Discussion (FGD) on the type of farming practices used and other demographic data.

Results and Discussion: The MfS were found to be less affected and resilient to climate change with multiple benefits such as moisture conservation, slow release of nutrients and cross migration of microorganisms to the intercropping plants in the field unlike other farming practicing fields. An increased number of soil fertility indicator microorganisms such as Bacillus spp and Nitrogen fixing bacteria were seen to have increased the production of food crops (P>0.05) almost all the year round. An intensive relay cropping of one acre would be sufficient to ensure food security for an average family of 5 members.

Conclusion: Currently, the Machobane Farming System (MfS) is adopted by many households in Lesotho using biochar and compost.

Keywords: Machobane farming system, soil fertility, food security, sustainable farming, biofertilizer, indicator microorganisms

How to Cite

Mekbib, S. B., Olaleye , A. O., Johane, M., & Wondimu , T. (2024). Do We Listen or Ignore Indigenous Practices? The Machobane Farming System - An Indigenous Farming Practice of Lesotho. Asian Research Journal of Agriculture, 17(2), 160–178.


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