Significantly below-average rainfall and high temperatures at the start of season
Significantly below-average rainfall and high temperatures have characterized the start of season, negatively affecting agriculture activities. Labor opportunities continue to be limited in many sectors and as a result, poor households have below-average income with which to purchase food from markets. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected by early 2019. However, outcomes are expected to improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) depending on the harvest.
At the end of November, many areas in Lesotho recorded a late start of season by 40 days or more. The window for planting is closing for typical varieties of maize, which is likely to negatively impact the entire growing season. A prolonged delay in planting reduces the length of the growing season and increases the risk of crop damage due to frost in March/April.
Between August and October, WFP/Bureau of Statistics price data indicated maize meal prices in Maseru market were relatively stable, although trending slightly above the five-year average at about 3 percent above the five-year average. Market food supplies remain stable with consistent imports from South Africa.