8 percentage point reduction in households reporting poor food consumption between January and February
Negative coping strategy levels remain stable since January
Price of maize meal is 4 percent lower than the same time last year
Heavy rains hinder access to markets
In February, WFP assisted 172,443 food-insecure people with cash and food. The assistance covered people in seven districts, most affected by the drought due to the El Nino phenomenon.
Under the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), WFP received 66 mt of plumpy nut to provide assistance for Nutrition activities.
This report is produced by Office of the Resident Coordinator in Lesotho in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It is issued by the Humanitarian Country Team. It covers the period from 1 October 2016 up to 17 March 2017
Food access improves as households consume green foods
Humanitarian assistance continues in Lesotho in response to acute food insecurity. For very poor and poor households receiving assistance, this is their main cash and food source. As a result, food consumption and dietary diversity have improved due to assistance. Lesotho is currently projected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2!), in the presence of assistance, from March to May. In the absence of ongoing assistance, the country would be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).
• UNICEF, with support from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), continues to provide safe drinking water to drought-affected populations. Preparatory activities such as technical assessment of water sources which require rehabilitation, and communities that need new water sources are underway to provide safe water to 17,000 people.
MAPUTSOE, Lesotho – ‘Mankaiseng Motau, 36, hurries as soon as she realizes the mobile clinic has been parked in its usual location near the factory at which she works. She wants to be the first to be served so that she can finish before the end of her lunch hour.
Households resorted less to negative coping strategies in January than in December
Rural households are using livelihoods coping strategies more than urban households
Purchasing power is lowest in southern districts The prices of maize meal, wheat and pulses have been stable since October
Humanitarian assistance improves acute food insecurity outcomes this peak lean season
As the lean season progresses, households face limited options for income and food sources and are relying mostly on casual labor for cash to purchase food and essential non-food items. Food prices remain above average, but have gradually declined since April 2016.
In January, WFP assisted 153,000 food insecure people through cash and food transfers.
Plans are underway to source maize meal for the school feeding programme locally; a proportion of the food is planned to be sourced from smallholder farmers.
WFP provided mobile devices to Lesotho Meteorological Services (LMS) to enable the Government to collect and disseminate real time weather data.
- Over half of rural households continue to use the most severe negative coping strategies
- Over two thirds of socio-economically worst-off households are buying food on credit
- A little over half the traders have stocks of basic foods
- Average maize meal prices are 7 percent higher than one year ago
Most parts of Lesotho experienced a rainfall deficit during the month, while Maseru and Mohale’s Hoek districts were hit by hail which destroyed some of the crops.
In December, WFP scaled up assistance in the seven most affected districts (Maseru, Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek, Quthing, Butha Buthe, Thaba Tseka and Berea) reaching 127,705 food insecure people through cash and food distributions.
Incessant rains likely to disturb farming activities, including weeding and fertilizer application
Near Term: October 2016 - January 2017 Medium Term: February - May 2017
• UNICEF, the World Bank and the Ministry of Social Development disbursed the third tranche of the Cash Grant Top-up to 85,443 children (53% were girls) in 28,481 households, providing unconditional emergency support to families with children negatively affected by food insecurity and other drought related deprivations.
Higher use of negative livelihoods coping strategies among households headed by women
Twice as many rural households have poor food consumption than urban households
Food insecurity increasing among households who buy food
Maize meal prices continued to fall in November but remain higher than last year
Prices for wheat flour and pulses remain stable
Casual labor opportunities increase, but labor wages are expected to remain below normal
Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity outcomes are expected to continue in Lesotho during this lean season, in the absence of humanitarian assistance. This is due to the compounding effects of one of the worst droughts in Lesotho’s recent history. Affected households continue to face limited food access, small consumption gaps, and do not have the capacity to cope with such a severe situation.
WFP is scaling up cash and food distributions for the peak of the lean season (January-March) However, WFP’s combined portfolio has a significant funding gap and contributions are needed for all activities to take place.
According to Mobile Vulnerability Analysis Mapping (mVam), commodity markets continue to function normally with food commodities available.
World Bank approves $20 million for social assistance programs
WASHINGTON, December 6, 2016 – Lesotho’s drought response efforts got a boost today following the approval of $20 million in additional financing by the World Bank Group Board of Executive Directors. The added funds will help the Government of Lesotho improve the shock responsive function of its ongoing social assistance programs as parts of its emergency response to the El Nino drought.
The average prices for maize meal and wheat flour remained stable over September and October
Prices for pulses were also stable in October in most districts.
Households are relying more on vegetables from their own production rather than purchasing them.
Food insecurity to worsen as the lean season peaks and ongoing assistance is still below needs
The peak of the lean season has begun a few months earlier than normal and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes will continue in Lesotho throughout the peak period due to below normal off-season incomes, below average wage rates for agricultural labor, as well as high food prices. Very poor and poor households across Lesotho are the most affected.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Favourable rainfall forecast for 2016/17 cropping season
Cereal production declined significantly in 2016 on account of El Niño-related drought conditions
Maize meal retail prices declined, but still remained above their year-earlier levels
Food security conditions worsen in 2016 reflecting impact of drought, with just under 0.5 million people requiring emergency assistance
Above-average rainfall conditions forecast for 2016/17 cropping season