Harvest likely to improve food access in Lesotho
Most of the maize crop has matured and is beginning to dry. Crop conditions are average to good improved by the good rains received in March. Although end of season conditions are favorable, there is a small risk of frost damage. The harvesting of dry maize is expected to begin in May.
Most households in Lesotho are now consuming green foods indicating the lean season is coming to an end. In areas of concern poor households in Lesotho will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) until June, when food insecurity outcomes are expected to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) after the harvest.
To date, Lesotho has not recorded any confirmed cases of COVID-19 although testing has so far been limited. Following the lockdown in South Africa which resulted in the closure of South Africa/Lesotho border posts, the government of Lesotho closed schools and issued stay at home orders except for the purchase of food and essential household shopping or medical services between March 29 and May 5 2020. The South African lockdown is expected to negatively impact seasonal employment and remittances from South Africa. The COVID-19 control measures in Lesotho will primarily impact urban livelihood activities.
Markets remain functional although the lockdown has resulted in a halt of many businesses as the government enforces measures to control COVID-19. So far, despite the closure of borders, movement of cargo is allowed which is facilitating food supplies and other essentials. Locally, markets are open only for essential services allowing the population to access food and other basics during the lockdown.