Key Message Update

Very low rainfall in November leads to delayed and below-average start of season in Lesotho

November 2019

November 2019 - January 2020

Lesotho's RM Outline is (Crisis) IPC Phase 3.

February - May 2020

Lesotho's RM Outline is (Crisis) IPC Phase 3.

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

  • The 2019/20 rainfall season has started poorly in Lesotho. Most areas of Lesotho have received very little rainfall, and the start of season is estimated to be delayed by 10-30 days. In mountainous areas, the combination of low levels of residual moisture from snowfall and the poor start of season have resulted in limited planting, which typically starts in October. Short-term and seasonal forecasts suggest rainfall will likely continue to be below average over Lesotho.

  • Abnormal dryness in Lesotho is affecting availability of pasture and water, as well as livestock body conditions. Should poor rainfall performance persist, livestock body conditions will likely remain poor and result in below-average prices. As a result, household income from the sale of livestock will likely be lower than normal. 

  • Markets in Lesotho remain well stocked by supplies from South Africa and maize meal prices have been generally stable in Lesotho. For example, maize meal prices in Maseru have remained largely unchanged since May 2019. However, maize meal prices typically increase during the lean season as supply is seasonally low and demand reaches seasonal highs. 

  • The poor start of season is also limiting household access to cash and in-kind income from agricultural labor demand that begins to increase in November. Households continue to depend on the market purchases to access food, although purchasing power is atypically low. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to continue through April 2020. Slight improvements will likely begin in May as harvests get underway.  

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, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics