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Minimal food insecurity throghout the country

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Lesotho
  • June 2013
Minimal food insecurity throghout the country

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Acute food insecurity outcomes have generally improved for all poor households as food access has increased through food stocks from own production, food in exchange for  labor, market purchases, and humanitarian assistance. All households are currently experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) acute food insecurity outcomes.

    • Based on crop estimates released by the Bureau of Statistics, the estimated maize grain shortfall is about 148,000 MT for the 2013/14 consumption period. Since on average Lesotho imports around 213,000 MT, it is expected that this shortfall will easily be covered through commercial imports this year.

    • Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) acute food insecurity outcomes are projected through September as poor households continue to consume own produced food for longer periods than normal, and since ongoing humanitarian assistance programming  has been extended to the end of December. 

    Projected Outlook through September 2013

    Based on the crop production estimates by the Bureau of Statistics, the 2012/13 main season maize production is 103 percent higher than last year’s below average harvest and 19 percent above the five year average. As a result of this increased cereal availability from the 2013 harvest, in comparison to last year a significantly lower projected shortfall of cereals (200,000 MT) and maize (148,000 MT) is expected this year. In the case of maize, the projected shortfall will easily be covered with commercial imports since on average Lesotho imports 213,400 MT of maize. It is also likely that what farmers will actually harvest this year is more than the current estimates produced by the Bureau of Statistics. This was the case during the 2011/12 main season harvest when a maize harvest of 16,876 MT was estimated, but final production figures revealed a harvest of 42,471 MT. 

    With main season harvesting still ongoing, most households are relying on own production for cereal requirements and markets for other food requirements. Households with no land are also accessing food through labor exchange and/or market purchases with income from the sale of labor to better-off households. Poor households also continue to benefit from humanitarian assistance programming that was initially planned as a response to the 2012/13 food security emergency that was declared by the Government of Lesotho. Since October 2012, the World Food Program (WFP), through local NGOs and INGOs, has provided food assistance to vulnerable households through general food distributions, Food for Work, and Cash for Assets. In addition to these programs, other groups, including young children and pregnant and lactating women, are benefiting from food and nutrition interventions through school meal programming, and feeding centers in clinics and hospitals.  In May, general food distribution targeted 106,339 people, Food for Work benefited 21,061 people and 24,510 people received food under the Cash for Work program. Additionally, about 22,000 people and 150,000 students benefited from nutrition and school feeding programming, respectively. Increased household cereal availability, coupled with ongoing emergency food assistance is allowing poor households to meet both survival and livelihood protection needs, resulting in Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) acute food insecurity outcomes.

    Most poor households are projected to harvest normal to above normal food, with stocks expected to last for a period ranging from about two to three months. The poorer households in Mokhotlong, Quthing, Mohale’s Hoek, Thaba Tseka, Mafeteng and Qacha’s Nek districts have continued receiving food assistance, even during the harvest period. It is likely that these poorer households located in the livelihoods zones most at risk to food insecurity will use their own produced food stocks for longer periods than normal.

    Although the Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment Committee (LVAC) is still analyzing its findings, the number of people at risk of food insecurity during the 2013/14 consumption period is likely to be much less than the previous consumption period and below the five year average (approximately 448,000). Therefore, the Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) acute food insecurity outcomes are projected to be maintained through September throughout the country.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Cereal balance sheet for the 2013/14 consumption period compared with 2012/13 period (‘000 MT).

    Figure 2

    Cereal balance sheet for the 2013/14 consumption period compared with 2012/13 period (‘000 MT).

    Source: FEWS NET

    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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