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As the lean season continues many poor rural households will continue to experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity outcomes through March, in the presence of humanitarian assistance.
Food access for poor households is likely being limited by increasing food prices, especially in remote areas like the Senqu River Valley livelihood zone.
With 80 percent of crops (including maize) in the early pollination stage, the dry spell experienced since late January is expected to significantly reduce crop yields and total production, likely resulting in the third consecutive year of low food production for agriculture dependent households.
Prospects of a good harvest in 2013 are likely to be further hampered by the occurrence of pest infestation and crop destruction by armyworms in the early weeks of February.
Most poor households across the country are experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity outcomes in the presence of ongoing humanitarian assistance. Comprehensive response plans by of many organizations are being constrained by limited resources. The World Food Program (WFP) Emergency Operation Appeal is only about 55 percent funded while the Red Cross Appeal is only nine percent funded. As a result, fewer households are benefiting from the current food assistance programs. In January, only 741 MT of food was distributed to about 56,000 people under Emergency Operations (EMOP) while 174 MT was distributed to 17,864 people through the WFP nutrition support intervention.
Poor households in areas located further away from Maseru, including Senqu River Valley and Mountains livelihood zones, are likely experiencing food access constraints due to increasing food prices as the lean season progresses. It is expected that prices are at their highest in February given the typical price increases during the peak of the lean period.
Food security outcomes are expected to improve from April onwards when the new harvests begin. However, the season is characterized by a number of factors that may significantly reduce 2012/13 yields and production and this could result in reduced household food stocks during the 2013/14 consumption year. After a late start of the season, most crops were reported to be in very good condition at the end of January but the anomalous high temperatures and humidity in early February resulted in high infestations of crops with American bore worm, maize stalk borers and pollen beetles. In addition, armyworm outbreaks in the most productive areas in the Northern and Southern Lowlands, including Berea, Leribe, Butha-Buthe and Mohale’s Hoek districts have dampened the prospects of good harvests.
Several areas have experienced a dry spell since late January. Satellite rainfall estimate data shows that rainfall has been below average over most parts of the country since January 21st. Given that the season started late, most crops are in their flowering stage and the low rainfall has potentially negative implications for crop maturation and could result in reduced yields. Recent satellite data shows below normal vegetation conditions in several areas. Despite this, access to food from the upcoming harvests is expected when food becomes available from the green harvest in April. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes are projected for April through June with households accessing food from own production and in exchange with labor.
Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year
Source: FEWS NET
Rainfall as a percentage of average for January 21 – February 20, 2013.
Source: FEWS NET/NOAA/USGS
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.