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Limited assistance unlikely to cover Stressed food insecure population

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Lesotho
  • October 2014
Limited assistance unlikely to cover Stressed food insecure population

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through March 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Below average incomes, high food prices, low coverage of ongoing safety nets, and the start of green consumption in February or March are expected to be inadequate to cover all the food and livelihood protection requirements, resulting in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity outcomes.

    • The Lesotho Meteorological Services predicts a below-normal start of season, with a 40-60 percent chance of start of rainfall between October 11-20. The rest of the season November to March is expected to have a higher chance of normal to above normal. This will reduce labor opportunities associated with start of season, but seasonal progress will present favorable conditions for crop growth and maturity.

    • The ongoing safety nets target to reach 340,000 people in 2015, however the current 57 percent funding shortfall will limiting the impact of the interventions on household access to food. Agriculture support to 18,500 households by FAO is expected to improve access to livelihood needs for targeted households. While these forms of assistance improve access, their coverage and funding levels are inadequate to meet the needs of the 447,760 people at risk of food insecurity for the 2014/15 consumption year.





    Funding of ongoing safety nets have a 57 percent shortfall.

    The shortfalls will reduce the coverage of targeted people resulting in limited impact of assistance

    Southern Lowlands, Foothills and Senque River Valley Livelihood Zones


    Below average agricultural labor incomes due to above average supply of people seeking for labour opportunities

    Reduced incomes and high prices will result in Poor households having reduced purchasing power between October and December.


    Prices for staple maize are 120-180 percent above prices during same time in 2010, the reference year.

    Projected Outlook through March 2014

    The start of the agriculture season in September/October is typically associated with opportunities for labor for poor households through land preparation, planting, and weeding activities. With the likelihood of below-normal rains in October and normal to above-normal rains for the rest of the 2014/2015 season, labor opportunities and wages are expected to be below average, reducing the purchasing power of poor households throughout the outlook period.

    Most staple foods are imported from South Africa, and demand for these products will increase as the lean season gets underway in November. The rate of maize importation has increased during the 2014/15 marketing year, with approximately 45,000 MT of maize imported between April and July 2014, compared to about 20,000 MT during the same period last year. This increased importation has improved availability of maize on markets in Lesotho.

    The decrease in South African maize prices may have contributed to the faster import rate and is expected to influence stabilize on domestic prices. Lesotho imports maize grain, which is milled for resale on local market. The transport costs from South Africa, local milling and packaging costs, transport and profit margins are the main factors resulting in very large differences between import and resale prices. The May to August average of local prices of maize meal are 190 percent higher than maize grain prices in South Africa. These prices have increased only 0.5 percent last year, but 11 percent above the five-year average. Although current maize meal prices in Lesotho are declining in line with price behavior in South Africa, they remain 90-100 above those observed during the 2009/10 reference year in Lesotho. This is due to combined effects of lower production this year compared to last year, and significantly below-average 2011/2012 production that significantly drove up retail prices..

    The World Food Programme reached 270,747 people in July through safety net programs distributing 1,461,337 MT of food. The programs are expected to increase to cover 340,000 people in 2015, with 64,000 targeted under the Nutrition and HIV/TB support, 25,000 under the Disaster Risk Reduction, 51,068 for ECCD supplementary feeding, and 200,000 under the school meals program. This increase in assistance will improve nutrition and food access for some of the 447,600 people estimated to be at risk of food insecurity until March 2015 by the Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment Committee. However, the current funding has a 57 percent shortfall, limiting the delivery of this assistance. Additionally, the Government of Lesotho and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are targeting 18,500 people with agriculture input support, which will improve livelihood protection needs for at-risk households.

    Due to the combined impacts of below-average 2013/14 production, lower-than-normal agricultural labor income, high staple food prices, reduced incomes due to factory closures and strikes, and limited food assistance coverage, Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) acute food insecurity outcomes are likely from January to March 2015. Areas likely to face these outcomes include the districts of Maseru, Mafeteng, Mohales’ Hoek, Quthin, and Thabatseka covering Southern Lowlands, Senque River Valley, and Foothills livelihoods zones.

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. Start of Season and October to December rainfall outlook

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. Start of Season and October to December rainfall outlook

    Source: Ministry of Energy, Meteorology & Water Affairs and USGS GeoWRSI

    Figure 2. Local maize meal price compared to spot prices of maize grain in South Africa

    Figure 3

    Figure 2. Local maize meal price compared to spot prices of maize grain in South Africa

    Source: GIEWS data

    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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