Spatial planning and its implications on agricultural development in Lesotho : a case study of Mohlakeng Community Council in Maseru District.
This study explores the implications of spatial planning on agricultural development in Lesotho. It interrogates how spatial planning in Lesotho takes place as well as its role in the agricultural development discourse in this country. The study was motivated by one major research objective: to determine whether spatial planning efforts in Lesotho contribute to the encouragement of agricultural development in the country. An in-depth case analysis of the experiences of farming communities in two villages selected at random in Mohlakeng Community Council in Maseru district was conducted to understand how spatial planning affects farming activities in this area. Interviews were also conducted with legal, spatial planning and agriculture experts in Lesotho to find out the relationship between policy and practice in agricultural development. A mixed method sampling technique was also used where the farmers were selected using snowball sampling and questioned on how their agricultural activities interact with spatial planning. Interview respondents were selected using purposive sampling as the researcher needed expert opinions. This research has found that spatial planning practice in Mohlakeng Community Council can be said to be unresponsive to the need for agricultural development. This is because the farming community in Mohlakeng Community Council were found to be oblivious of what spatial planning does and how it could contribute to better performance in the agricultural sector. It was also found that the expert community concur citing that generally the practice of spatial planning operates in urban areas and so neglects the rural part of the country where agriculture is dominant. The findings from the research indicate that there should be a relationship between spatial planning and agricultural development in Lesotho. The findings of this research can contribute to discourse on the practice of spatial planning and its effect on agricultural development in developing countries including Lesotho. The conclusions indicate the need for more responsive legislative structures so that planning practice is more structured to respond to the need for agricultural development in areas such as Mohlakeng Community Council where the people have an interest in undertaking agriculture but lack support in some aspects of the process.