Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes emerge as own produced food stocks deplete
After a few months of consuming own produced cereals, very poor households are beginning to deplete their stocks. Typically, very poor households' own produced grains last for about three to four months in an average year. As own stocks deplete, households are slowly beginning to rely on the market. While they can still afford their food needs, some households are diverting some income for other basic non-food needs towards food leading to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. From October, the number of very poor and poor households who will marginally meet their food needs will increase due to below-average purchasing power, leading to the re-emergence of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in some districts.
As the 2021/22 rainfall season nears, some farmers are already starting to prepare for the coming cropping season, especially in the mountains, where farming activities typically begin around October. Key informants report that farmers are already engaging in land preparation which is expected to peak in September and October as the planting period approaches. In the mountains, early planting, which typically happens in October, is likely to be timely this year due to availability of residual moisture available from snowfall. Lesotho received typical snowfall this year due to a severe winter experienced.
Households continue to rely on off-farm labor opportunities as a source of income, including construction, house smearing, domestic work, and beer brewing. However, many of these are below average due to compounding effects of COVID-19 restrictions locally and in the primary labor markets of South Africa. Remittances continue to be one of the perennial income sources; however, despite relative improvements in South Africa, the levels remain below average as the South African economy is still recovering from multiple COVID-19 lockdowns as well as the recent civil unrest.