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Remotely Monitored Country
Remote Monitoring Report

Earlier than normal lean season expected

September 2018

September 2018

October 2018 - January 2019

IPC 2.0 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 2.0 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 2.0 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 2.0 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

  • The lean season is expected to start earlier than normal as many poor households have depleted their food stocks and depend on market purchases. Although markets are well supplied with maize meal, market prices have seasonally increased since July. This combined with below-average income is lowering poor household’s ability to buy food. Currently, poor households are experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity, though Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to emerge in November, marking an early start of the lean season.

  • Most households are currently preparing for the 2019 agricultural season and poor households have some access to agriculture labor opportunities, but the availability of opportunities are occurring slower than normal. Based on the forecast weak El Niño, average tending to below-average rainfall is anticipated for the 2018/19 rainy season, and is likely to negatively affect cropping activities and access to agriculture-based labor.

  • Winter crops are currently growing especially in lowland areas where winter wheat is grown. The estimated area planted is similar to a normal year. However, most poor households typically do not plant wheat or plant only a small area. As a result, food security among poor households is not impacted significantly by winter crops.

DISTRICT CURRENT ANOMALIES PROJECTED ANOMALIES
Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek, Qacha’s nek and Quthing
  • Below-average 2018 harvest of staple crops
  • Below-average income from fewer labor opportunities and remittances
  • Earlier than normal depletion of household’s food stocks and reliance on market purchases for food consumption
  • Earlier than normal start of the lean season at the beginning of November.
  • Low purchasing power due to poor incomes and increasing staple prices
  • Average to below average rainfall due to forecasted weak El Niño
  • Below averagel in-kind payments for casual agriculture labor.

 

PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH MARCH 2019

Projected outlook through January 2019

The lean season is projected to start earlier than normal at the beginning of November due to the poor 2018 harvest, which was 68 percent below last year and about 31 percent below the five-year average according to FEWS NET’s Southern Africa Regional Supply and Market Outlook. Some households are still consuming own stocks, though many households, including some middle and better off households, are fully dependent on food from market purchases and are expected to remain so through January 2019. The increased market dependence is expected increase demand and drive market food prices higher, though overall prices are expected to be only slightly above the five-year average. Maize meal prices in Maseru are projected to gradually increase through January 2019 and fluctuate up to 6 percent above the five-year average (Figure 1).  Below average incomes from non-agriculture labor, including domestic work and self-employment, due to the poor harvest will further decrease household purchasing power limiting market food access and increasing food consumption gaps.

Market food supplies are expected to remain stable through January 2019. Lesotho is a net importer of staple foods and receives the majority the food supply from South Africa. Lesotho will continue to receive consistent supplies through the peak of the lean season as South Africa has a surplus of staple foods with above-average stocks from the 2017 harvest and the above-average 2018 harvest. Due to the poor 2018 harvest in Lesotho, in-kind labor payments from middle and better-off households will be below-average due to cereal shortages reducing food access for poor households depending on this for food.

Based on the current weak El Niño forecast, average to below-average rainfall is anticipated for the 2018/19 rainy season. Agricultural activities will likely be negatively affected including below-average labor opportunities through January 2019.The start of agriculture activities will also likely be negatively affected due to the lack of adequate rains at the start of the season. Food assistance is provided as part of the annual response to the lean season; however, the level of assistance will not meet the level of need and is not significant enough to change the area level classification. Poor households will likely face food consumption gaps or engage in some unsustainable coping strategies to meet their food needs, through January 2019. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes will likely prevail in Lesotho during the peak of the lean season.

Projected outlook through the end of the next lean season (March 2019)

Households typically start accessing green harvests in February allowing access to some foods; however, the anticipated average to below-average rainfall will likely delay the access and availability of green foods such as beans, sweet potatoes and green mealies. In addition, if winter starts atypically early, late planted crops will be negatively affected limiting yields. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are anticipated to continue with needs being atypically high through the lean season.

About Remote Monitoring

In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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 34 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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