Download the Report
Food stocks from own production, food in exchange with labor, market purchases, and safety nets ensuring basic food and non-food access, maintaining Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes between June and July, while declining purchasing power will result in localized Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes between August to September.
Based on crop estimates released by the Bureau of Statistics, the estimated maize grain shortfall is about 180,000 MT for the 2015/16 consumption period, an increase of 22 percent from last year’s shortfall 148,000 MT. It is expected that this shortfall will be covered through commercial imports this year.
Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes are projected through September, as a majority of poor households continue to consume own produced foods and have access to safety nets. However, according to the VAC, about 13 percent of households will likely experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in localized areas of Lowlands, and Foot Hills and Mountains livelihood zones.
The recently released crop production estimates by Bureau of Statistics, for the 2014/15 main season maize production is 14 percent lower than last year and seven percent below the five-year average. Overall cereal production is down 21 percent from last year, 51 percent from the 2008/9 reference year used by Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment Committee, and 22 percent below the five-year average. Despite the decrease in cereal production, above-average carryover stocks have resulted in a below-average import requirement of 180,000 MT to meet the national cereal requirement of 351,175 MT. The projected shortfall will easily be covered with commercial imports since, on average, Lesotho imports 213,400 MT of maize. The main harvest is still ongoing, with most households 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.
Incomes of the poor have largely declined with agriculture labor estimated to decline by 34 percent below the 2009 reference year due to limited opportunities, although as the reference year was significantly better than the recent five-year average, this decline in incomes may not be as significant. Remittances are expected to drop by 15 percent due to cumulative effect of mining disturbances last year and anticipated retrenchments from some mines in South Africa. Furthermore, although livestock prices have increased, the poor have limited numbers to sell sustainably without reducing their capacity to cope. Incomes have slightly improved by 14% in nominal terms compared to reference years with exception of declines in Mkhotlong (-10%), Qacha’s Nek (-2%) and Thaba Tseka (-16%).
The purchasing power of households is expected to decline due to the high and increasing food prices anticipated following the drop in local production, increase in food prices in South Africa as well as increases in fuel prices. Price projections suggest between June and September 2015 maize meal prices are likely to rise to 5-10 percent above last year’s prices. These increased prices are expected to reduce the ability of poor households to meet all of their needs, particularly between August and September, resulting in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity outcomes in localized areas. Most poor households in Qacha’s Nek, Thaba Tseka, Mafeteng Districts are likely to experience livelihood protection deficits from September onwards due to increases in food prices at a time when incomes will be limited.
The Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment Committee (LVAC)’s recently completed seasonal assessment estimates the food-insecure population will increase from 447,760 (32%) last year to 463,936 (33%) this year. However, when the LVAC takes into account the presence of various safety nets, including pensions, child grants, destitute transfers, cash for work/assets, and school feeding, the food-insecure population drops to 179,955 people (13%) (Figure 1). In addition to these programs, other groups, including young children, pregnant and lactating women, and HIV cases are benefiting from food and nutrition interventions. The projected food insecurity outcomes will worsen in the event of changes in safety nets or failure of targeting at-risk households.
Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year
Source: FEWS NET
Table 1. Lesotho cereal balance sheet, 2015/16 consumption year
Source: FEWS NET
Figure 1. LVAC-estimated food-insecure population, 2009-2016
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.