Limited access to income affects food security in Lesotho

Lesotho Remote Monitoring Update, October 2019

Photo by Well Cabral on Unsplash

Key Messages

  • A majority of households in Lesotho are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, even in the traditionally high-producing areas of the Southern Lowlands which are the breadbasket of Lesotho. An increase in consumption-based coping strategies have been reported, such as skipping meals and reducing portion. The World Food Program has begun distributing cash and vouchers to affected households.
  • Seasonal forecasts indicate that parts of Southern Africa, including Lesotho will likely receive below-average rainfall between October 2019 and March 2020 with a potentially late and erratic onset. Depending on rainfall distribution, there is a chance that the 2019/20 cropping season will be affected for the third consecutive year. Lesotho typically receives first rains as early as October, however the country has only received three days of rain so far. Early season rainfall deficits will likely affect planting and other agriculture activities. As a result, agricultural labor opportunities are limited and are expected to be further affected by poor start of season, thereby affecting income and food access for the poor.
  • Reported high temperatures are rapidly drying water reservoirs and depleting pasture. As of the third week of October, vegetation cover for most of Lesotho was 70 – 95 percent below typical levels, as evidenced by the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Livestock body conditions continue to deteriorate due to poor pastures and shortage of water. This is affecting prices for livestock as traders prefer healthy animals.

About Remote Monitoring

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.

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