Download the Report
Own stocks from the recent harvest, stable food prices and ongoing safety nets will maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes between May and July. However, increases in food prices, declining incomes, and the end of some safety-net programs will result in the deterioration of food insecurity outcomes for poor households to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) between August and September.
The 2014/15 cropping season has generally performed poorly with 16 percent less area planted in crops compared to last year, poor rainfall distribution throughout the country, with localized hailstorms and frost affecting crop growth and maturity. Maize production is anticipated to be below the five-year average by about 28 percent.
Below-average production, limited availability of agricultural income-earning opportunities compared to the previous year, and increases in fuel and maize import prices are expected to drive up retail staple food prices, resulting in the erosion on purchasing power of poor households, particularly between August and September when market purchases are the main source of food.
Mountains, Lowlands and Foothills
An early frost is affecting late planted crops during the maturity stage.
The yield for late planted crops will be reduced, further reducing production of maize and vegetables
Seasonal performance from October 2014 to March 2015 was generally poor for most parts of the country and prospects are for below-average harvests for the ongoing April to June harvest period. Additionally, the negative effect of below-average area planted (Figure 1) across the country and the impact of frost damage on maturing crops in localized areas in the highlands, lowlands and foothills will further reduce production levels to below last year’s levels.
FAO estimates maize production will be 30 percent below last year, and 28 percent below the five-year average, which will likely result in higher import levels than last year, when the country required to import 54 percent of their cereal needs and above the average of 70 percent in previous years.
The FAO’s Food Price Data and Analysis Tool suggests that imported maize meal prices are to maintain an upward trend (Figure 2), based on a linear progression forecast. Due to below-average production, most households are expected to produce enough food to last less than 3 months of consumption, a drop from 4-6 months in a normal year, which will likely force households to rely on market purchases earlier than normal. Income from harvesting is expected to drop due to reduced opportunities, while livestock sales, domestic- and construction-related work are expected to improve, owing to changes in payment rates. However with anticipated rises in local food prices influenced by increases in import prices, increases in fuel prices and its impact on transport costs are likely to reduce household purchasing power particularly between July and September when most food stocks are exhausted, reducing the ability of poor households to adequately meet their food and non-food needs.
The World Food Programme, is reaching 234,708 people through school feeding, nutrition and HIV, Food for Work and Cash for Assets programs under the safety-net and country development programs. However, the DRR activities targeting 25,000 people will terminate in July, reducing the number of households on safety nets. Access to food through own production, ongoing safety nets will maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes between May and July. High and rising food prices and reduced incomes will see food security outcomes deteriorate between August and September to Stressed (IPC Phase 2), especially for the 25,000 households whose DRR safety-net programs will be ending in July. This outlook would worsen in the event of food price spikes, and changes in the funding levels of safety net programmes, which could change access to food and purchasing of poor households between July and September.
Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year
Source: FEWS NET
Figure 1. 2014/15 area planted in Lesotho, by district
Source: Lesotho Bureau of Statistics
Figure 2. South Africa-FOB and Lesotho imported maize meal prices.
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.