Lesotho Key Message Update: Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes likely during the ongoing lean season due to low purchasing power, November 2021

Situation Report
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Key Messages

  • Land preparation and planting for the 2021/22 agricultural season are ongoing despite some early-season rainfall deficits. Planting is in progress at normal levels, increasing opportunities for agricultural labor. International forecasts are for above-average rainfall for the 2021/22 season. This is expected to decrease current rainfall deficits and facilitate favorable crop development. Currently, prospects for the 2022 harvest are favorable.

  • The price of maize flour, wheat flour, and beans remained generally stable in October; however, at high levels compared to earlier in 2021. This is primarily due to price transmission from South Africa, where food prices are high. Prices of maize flour are nearly 10 percent higher on a year-on-year basis. Rising prices of fertilizers and other agricultural inputs are expected to exert upward pressure on production costs, which could drive grain price increases in the coming months. Supply chains between the country and South Africa are functioning normally.

  • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to persist through the lean season in southern areas of the country. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected for the rest of the country in the coming months. Food insecurity is predominantly driven by prolonged high levels of unemployment in Lesotho and South Africa due to the economic slowdown associated with the COVID-19 pandemic as well as above-average food prices. Another wave of COVID-19 associated with the new variant could lead to new restrictions potentially driving extended and higher levels of unemployment.