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Start of harvest and stable food prices will improve food access

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Lesotho
  • April 2014
Start of harvest and stable food prices will improve food access

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected outlook through September 2014
  • Key Messages
    • The start of the main harvest and stable food prices, supplemented by ongoing safety-net programs, will maintain stable access to food. Minimal food insecurity outcomes (IPC Phase 1) are projected for April through September as the available sources food cover the needs for poor rural households.
    • Most crops are at maturity stage with early harvest for early crops starting and expected to intensify in May. However, in some areas in the Northern lowlands and Mountains livelihood zones, the late planted crop is at risk of frosting during maturity. The yield prospects given both factors will result in near- average production for the 2012/13 main harvest.
    • The increase in own harvest and high production in South Africa, as well as regional importing countries, will likely result in reduced demand and stabilization of staple food prices for local and imported maize, improving the purchasing power for poor households particularly in July-August, when food access will be supplemented by market purchases as in normal years.




    Parts of Northern Lowlands and Mountains

    Mediocre crop conditions persist in some parts of the zones compared to average, as poor distribution of rainfall is resulting in moisture stress. 

    Yield per unit area is likely going to be lower than normal and will likely result in slightly below-normal production.


    Projected outlook through September 2014

    The current Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) (Figure 2) suggests normal to above normal crop vegetation condition and performance. Combined with WRSI, which shows average to above average crop condition across the country except for parts of Mountains and Northern lowlands, near average production is anticipated.

    Most poor households will access food from own production associated with intensification of green consumption and start of the main harvest between April and June, leading to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes. The World Food Program (WFP) and its partners are reaching 234,708 people through school feeding; nutrition and HIV; Food for Work, and Cash for Assets programming. This assistance is expected to continue to supplement the food sources of poor rural households for the outlook period.

    With anticipated near-average production prospects, many poor households will have typical access to food from own production, covering three to four months. However, as own stocks deplete in the July to September period, ongoing safety net interventions and supplementary food purchasing will continue to stabilize food access options and maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity outcomes. 

    Following the relative price stability in the previous consumption year (Figure 3), increased production in source markets of maize and average local harvest will likely contribute to prices remaining higher than five year averages, but within the ranges observed in last two seasons (4.3 to 4.8  and 5.6 to 6.1 LSL/kg of imported maize meal). This will improve access to food as purchasing power remain stable.

    This outlook would change in the event of any changes in the funding levels of safety net programs, which could change access to food and cash for poor households in the period July to September. 

    Figures Figure 2. Percentage of NDVI anomaly, 11-20 April

    Figure 1

    Figure 2. Percentage of NDVI anomaly, 11-20 April


    Figure 3. Seasonal maize price trends, April 2012-February 2014

    Figure 2

    Figure 3. Seasonal maize price trends, April 2012-February 2014


    Figure 5


    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.

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