Lesotho Key Message Update, January 2019

Situation Report
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Key Message Update

Erratic and below average rainfall is negatively affecting crop conditions

Lesotho will most likely continue to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes through the lean season. Agriculture and non-agriculture labor opportunities continue to be below average, negatively affecting household incomes. As households are depending on markets for food, atypically low incomes are restricting food access. Delayed and erratic rainfall will most likely postpone the green and main harvests resulting in the extension of the lean season by roughly one month. Food security outcomes are likely to improve in April/May with the harvest.

The rainfall performance for the ongoing 2018/19 agriculture season continues to be poor. Rains have been erratic and according to CHIRPS data, cumulative rainfall received through mid-January is 30 percent or more below normal. Recent rainfall has slightly improved soil moisture, however, remains inadequate for effective maize crop development. The regeneration of vegetation has been slow due to moisture deficits.

As of mid-January, satellite derived images indicate vegetation conditions are below average across the country. Cropping conditions are generally mediocre and coupled with the delay to the start of season, the harvest is anticipated to be below-average. Livestock pasture and grazing lands remain poor although are expected to improve due to recent rainfall. Livestock body conditions are average to poor negatively affecting livestock market prices.