Lesotho

Lesotho Key Message Update: Low income and higher prices expected to drive Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during the lean season, July 2022

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Key Messages

  • Below-average income from crop sales and remittances are atypically driving Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes across much of Lesotho. While households are able to access income from crop sales and non-agricultural labor opportunities, high food prices and the below-average harvest are driving atypically low purchasing power.

  • Local cereal production is expected to be lower than average, with imports from South Africa meeting the rest of the need. Typically, the country relies more on imports from South Africa. Increased fuel prices and transportation costs will lead to higher-than-normal food commodity prices with normal trade flows expected.

  • Food prices increased from May to June, with edible sunflower oil registering the largest monthly increase of 9.6 percent. On an annual basis, edible oil prices were 39.6 percent higher than 2021 levels. Maize meal prices were stable between May and June. Bread prices increased by 4.3 percent in June, and prices were 15.8 percent above June 2021. Given that Lesotho is a net food importer, these price dynamics were driven by high global commodity prices.

  • In low-lying areas and areas close to water bodies, households are engaged in winter production, with weeding and fertilizer application ongoing. Given the above-normal rainfall in the 2021/22 rainy season, most water bodies are fully recharged. Coupled with above-average moisture levels, the area cultivated for winter production is slightly above average; therefore, production is expected to be slightly higher than in the previous few years. Moreover, the government is also providing some subsidies on fertilizer to facilitate winter production.

  • Households are experiencing below-average income from livestock sales because of difficulty accessing permits to sell in South Africa. Most rural households currently access income from casual or informal labor, remittances, pension, petty trade, crop sales, and self-employment activities such as beer brewing and craft making. However, income from these activities is below average, leading some households to reduce health and other nonfood needs expenditures.