Key Message Update

Persistent increases in maize meal prices will likely continue to restrict household food access

March 2019

March - May 2019

June - September 2019

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • Typically, at this time of the year, poor households begin to consume and sell green foods to access income. However, due to the delayed and below average precipitation season, income and in-kind payments from agriculture labor and the green harvest continue to be significantly below average and will likely continue to below average despite the upcoming harvest. Below average access to incomes and green foods is resulting in continued Crisis (IPC Phase 3), however outcomes are expected to improve with the harvest to Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

  • Maize cropping conditions are poor to average despite late season rainfall, as crops have been damaged beyond recovery in some parts of the country. Although, in other areas crops were able to recover. The maize crop stage in Lesotho is of concern as most crops are atypically in the reproductive stage, increasing the risk of negative effects if there is an early frost. A combination of these factors continues to reduce prospects for the 2019 harvest.

  • Although maize meal prices in Maseru are still trending slightly below the five-year average, they increased in January. Maize meal prices are anticipated to continue to increase due to increased demand and speculation of a poor 2019 harvest following a poor rainfall season. This is expected to further erode poor household’s purchasing power, as they are already facing difficulties accessing market foods due to below average incomes. Nonetheless, markets remain well stocked with consistent supplies from South Africa.

  • Labor opportunities and incomes are significantly below average with households earning income through casual agriculture labor. Some poor households are coping by increasing non-farm labor such as domestic work and house maintenance, however opportunities are also below average as they usually peak during the dry season. Vegetables selling is a typical income source this time of year, ongoing rains resulted in the recovery of some vegetables however continue to be below average. Households have begun preparations for off-season vegetable production.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 28 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

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