Starting in October, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to emerge in some areas of Lesotho. These outcomes are expected to persist through January 2022, with the food insecure population peaking around January. Poorer households are expected to be market reliant due to the depletion of own-produced foods. Household income is expected to remain below average, driving below average purchasing power and declines in food access.
Off-farm income is expected to seasonally decline and be limited around November as households’ focus turns to own farm activities. Preparations for the 2021/22 agricultural season are beginning, specifically for land preparation activities. From November onwards, on-farm labor opportunities are expected to increase with increasing farming activities as the 2021/22 rainy season is expected to be fully established. Income from agricultural labor is expected to be lower than typical, although higher than last year due to below average income for better-off households. This is because of the compounding impacts of poor seasons and COVID-19 restriction measures.
Markets are functioning normally, with local and South African supplies able to meet demand. In 2020 and parts of 2021, there were some disruptions of supply chains due to border closures. Although there are still some restrictions at the border, the situation has significantly improved, allowing cargo with supplies to move more freely. Maize meal prices remain above the five-year average; however, they are currently stable. With the lean season coming, maize meal prices are likely to increase further due to increases in market demand. This will likely erode purchasing power for market-dependent, very poor, and poor households.