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Incessant rains likely to disturb farming activities, including weeding and fertilizer application

  • Key Message Update
  • Lesotho
  • January 2017
Incessant rains likely to disturb farming activities, including weeding and fertilizer application

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity outcomes are expected to continue in Lesotho during this lean season, in the absence of humanitarian assistance. The agriculture season continues to progress well in Lesotho, however, there are concerns that nonstop rains in some areas may impede important farming activities like weeding. Additionally, the constant rainfall has interrupted harvesting activities for the second season wheat crop that the majority of middle and better-off households normally complete during this time of the year. 

    • Most crops are currently in good condition and at the vegetative stage, whilst some are at reproductive stage. With the expectations of continued good rains, most areas anticipate to start accessing green foods in March. The most important farming activity currently is weeding, which is demanding a lot of labor. Casual labor opportunities are therefore at the peak, which is helping the very poor and poor households obtain cash income to buy food. However, below normal wage rates continue to affect the potential income that very poor and poor household should be earning from casual labor. 

    • Though casual agriculture labor is the most important source of income, households are also obtaining income from remittances, livestock sales, and non-farm labor.  However, these sources are expected to be below normal through the projected period. Non-farm labor opportunities are expected to be down due to lack of disposable income as middle and better off households prioritize paying for agriculture based labor. At the same time, households have been selling livestock for the past two consecutive droughts hence their numbers have dwindled especially for very poor and poor households. In this regard, income remains below average in Lesotho resulting in limited food purchases which could be contributing to high food consumption gaps. 

    • Staple food prices remain above last year and the five-year average, though a gradual decline has been noted especially at the end of 2016. The high staple prices combined with low incomes continue to reduce purchasing power, especially for market dependent poor households, leading to continued food consumption gaps. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity outcomes are expected to continue in Lesotho though out the lean season, with very poor and poor being the most affected households. Nonetheless, there is humanitarian assistance reported to be ongoing which could be moderating this situation. 

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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