Delayed and erratic rainfall affecting labor demand in Lesotho
Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes continue in many poor households as incomes are constrained by limited farm and non-farm labor opportunities. These households have difficulty purchasing market foods as prices have increased over the past few months, although WFP/VAM reports prices remain below the five-year average. A slight improvement is expected during the upcoming festive season as cash and food remittances seasonally increases. Although, this will be short-lived as remittances decrease after the New Year when household’s owe school fees and purchase agriculture inputs.
Many parts of Lesotho are currently experiencing a late start of the rainfall season by 10 to 30 days. Lesotho has experienced anomalously high daytime temperatures coupled with poorly distributed rainfall, negatively impacting the start of agriculture activities in November. According to preliminary CHIRPS data, rainfall across most of the country to date is less than 55 percent of normal. The persistent rainfall deficits are of concern and FEWS NET continues to monitor the situation.
Planting patterns are inconsistent across most of Lesotho. Some households have not yet planted due to delayed rains, some households have dry planted, while others are beginning to plant with the recent rainfall. Some households in the mountains planted using residual moisture from snow-fall, although crops are stunted due to stress as there was no follow-up rains after planting. Other households in the mountains are still atypically plowing and sowing.