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Access to maize and sorghum harvest improves food security outcomes

  • Key Message Update
  • Lesotho
  • May 2023
Access to maize and sorghum harvest improves food security outcomes

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The 2023 main harvest is improving food availability and access as households access maize and sorghum, driving Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes in low-lying deficit-producing areas and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes in highland surplus-producing areas. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected to persist in these areas as household incomes remain below average, limiting households’ access to other basic non-food needs.

    • As households sell some crops from the main harvest, this improves their income access. As harvesting labor peaks between June and July, very poor households are also expected to continue accessing income from this labor. Additional increases in income are expected from self-employment and other off-farm labor activities between June and August. However, overall incomes are expected to be below-average due to below-average production, affecting overall income from crop sales and harvesting labor. As the winter season approaches, households are expected to earn some income from May to July from winter cultivation and gardening activities while also accessing income from vegetable sales.

    • Food prices remained stable in April following seasonal trends due to a reduction in demand as households began to access their own produced crops. However, year-on-year costs for maize meal and wheat flour in Maseru increased by 18 and 19 percent, while compared to the five-year average, maize meal and wheat flour increased by 33 and 50 percent.  High staple food prices continue to limit household purchasing power at a time when households are largely market dependent.

    • Supplies of the main staple grains, maize and sorghum, are improving with the ongoing harvest and are expected to contribute to seasonal price decreases as market demand declines. However, the level of seasonal price reductions is expected to be lower than typical, given the high cost of production this season, because of high fertilizer prices. As a result, the price of most staple grains is expected to remain higher than average for the remainder of the outlook period.  In addition, maize meal and grain prices are expected to increase earlier than normal due to below-average production this season. As inflation rises, households are expected to face reduced purchasing power.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Lesotho Key Message Update, May 2023: Access to maize and sorghum harvest improves food security outcomes, 2023.

    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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