The ongoing harvest drives improvements in household food and income access

Lesotho Key Message Update, May 2022

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Photo by Erik-Jan Leusink on Unsplash

Key Messages

  • As the harvest is fully established across much of Lesotho, households are accessing food from own production. Most poor household income is below average due to low payment power by the better-off due to high inflation and lower income from labor in South Africa coupled with a below-average 2022 harvest. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are still expected through at least September as household income remains below average, limiting the purchase of other non-food needs.
  • The harvest is expected to peak between June and July. Most poor households access own-produced food while accessing income from harvesting labor, land preparation, and planting for winter production. Although a below-average 2022 harvest is expected, households will likely continue consuming food from own production through August/September.
  • Maize meal prices were stable between March and April and about 15 percent higher than the five-year average. Wheat flour prices were stable month on month while nearly 39 percent higher than average. Price pressures are expected to persist amid high global prices for fuel, fertilizer, energy products, and high shipping costs. In March, annual inflation was stable at 7.2 percent compared to 7.5 percent in February. In March, the month-on-month inflation rate accelerated to 0.8 percent from 0.3 registered in February, mainly driven by price increases in electricity, gas, transportation, and food.
  • Below-average income is expected for poor households through September. Households are expected to start accessing income from crop sales as the harvest peaks between June and July. However, income from crop sales is likely to be below average due to the expected below-average harvest. Poor households are also anticipated to access some income from agricultural labor, mainly from land preparation as preparation for the next production season begins in August and September. Throughout the projection period, poor households are expected to access income from self-employment activities as well as gardening. However, due to reduced purchasing power amidst increasing global prices for fuel, fertilizer, and high shipping costs, income from these activities is expected to be below average.

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