Very poor households have started to depend on markets for food around a month earlier than normal as households own produced food stocks are nearly depleted. Typically, own grown grains last for about three to four months. These households are still able to meet their food needs, but only through forgoing some of their basic needs to purchase food. As a result, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are ongoing. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to emerge as households become more market reliant and purchasing power remains low.
Forecasts indicate that average rainfall is most likely across Lesotho at the outset of the 2022/23 rainy season, supporting an on-time start to the agricultural season. Normal to above-normal rainfall is expected throughout the 2022/23 farming season across the entire country. The government of Lesotho is providing subsidies on agricultural inputs. Fertilizers are planned to be subsidized by 80 percent, while seeds and other agrochemicals will be subsidized at 60 percent. This is likely to support favorable engagement in the agricultural season.
Household income from agricultural labor is starting to be available as land preparation activities begin for the upcoming 2022/23 agricultural season. From November onwards, on-farm labor opportunities are expected to increase as the 2022/23 rainy season is expected to be fully established; however, the availability of labor is likely to be lower than normal for the season. While reduced hiring power would have led to reduced agricultural labor opportunities, government subsidies on fertilizer, seeds, and chemicals will lessen the burden on better of households, and they will be able to hire normal labor. Agricultural labor opportunities are therefore expected to be near normal.
Food prices in Maseru were generally stable in August; however, maize meal prices were nearly 10 percent higher, and wheat prices were nearly 20 percent higher than the last year. This is due to high international prices, with price transmission to Lesotho from South Africa.
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