Food insecurity further deteriorates in Lesotho
Many poor households in Lesotho are currently facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3). The number of poor households facing these outcomes will continue to increase as household food access is decreasing with start of the lean season. Casual agriculture labor would typically provide household income to mitigate the situation; however, in-kind payments from labor and income are below average due to the poor 2018 harvest.
Markets remain well stocked, but staple food prices continue to abnormally increase. Poor households are atypically fully dependent on market purchases and as household income is below-average, household purchasing power is limited. However, better-off household’s income is improving with vegetable production, improving their capacity to hire casual labor. Though this does not directly benefit poorer households, it should improve labor opportunities as well as in-kind payments for poor households, mitigating the situation.
Agriculture activities including, land preparation and dry planting have begun in preparation for the upcoming season. Rain has started and has been erratic and below-average to date, although it is still early to determine if this represents the start of rains for successful planning. The updated seasonal forecast indicates rainfall is most likely average associated with the weak El Niño. It is important to note there is a wide range of possibilities in the forecast associated with the weak El Niño and erratic behavior of the sea surface temperatures over the Indian Ocean.