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Localized Stressed food insecurity to persist with the start of the lean season

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Lesotho
  • August 2015
Localized Stressed food insecurity to persist with the start of the lean season

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through December 2015
  • Key Messages
    • Depletion of own stocks, limited income opportunities and increases in staple food prices will likely result in poor households facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes in localized areas. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity is expected in most of Lesotho through December. 

    • According to the South African Weather Services, August to December forecast, there are signs of developing El-Nino conditions normally associated with low rainfall. However, despite these conditions, Lesotho expects a normal start of the season and on-farm agriculture activities will likely follow normal trends.

    • Food prices continue to gradually increase following below-average local production and increase of prices in South Africa. This trend is likely to reduce the purchasing power of poor, market-dependent households, particularly between October and December.




    Foothills, Mountains and Southern Lowlands

    Remittances and construction labour has decreased mainly due to job cuts from RSA as well as reduced demand of construction work.

    Poor households will have significantly reduced purchasing power between October and December.

    Projected Outlook through December 2015

    Despite the predicted El Nino conditions by South African Weather Services forecast for the August to December period, normal to above-normal rainfall is expected during the outlook period. The expected normal start of the season will likely result in normal agricultural labor opportunities including land preparation, planting, and weeding. However, labor supply will likely be above average, as more households will try to engage in on-farm labor activities in order to raise incomes for cereal purchases following the poor 2015 harvest. As a result, wages for on-farm labor are expected to be below average, thereby reducing incomes for poor and very poor households.

    At the start of the 2015/16 consumption year in May, Lesotho had a staple food deficit of around 180,000 MT to meet the national cereal requirement of 351,175 MT, which represents 51 percent of cereal consumption needs that will be filled through imports from South Africa. South Africa maize prices are increasing following a drop in domestic production and rise in demand from neighboring countries. Generally, local prices of maize meal imported into Lesotho follow price trends in the source markets. FEWS NET price projections suggest that prices are likely to fluctuate between 5-15 percent above last year’s prices. In combination with below-average labor opportunities expected later in the year, this is likely to worsen the purchasing power for households and increase the severity of livelihoods deficits faced by very poor and poor households who depend on market purchases to access staple foods.

    The Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment Committee analysis has estimated 180,000 people (13%) to be at risk of food insecurity in the presence of safety nets. The projected food insecurity outcomes will worsen in the event of changes in safety nets or failure of targeting at-risk households.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 4


    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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