Lesotho Remote Monitoring Update: Expected crop losses likely to limit improvements in food security beyond July, February 2020

Situation Report
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• Maize crops are mostly at the vegetative stage and ongoing agricultural activities include weeding and fertilizer application. Most crops are in good condition due to ongoing rainfall, but are behind schedule due to the delayed rainfall season. There is concern that yields will be severely reduced if the rainy season ends or frosts begin earlier than normal.

• Production prospects are low due to the poor start of season which resulted in delayed cropping and below average cropped area. Additional information is expected following the upcoming crop assessment planned by The Disaster Management Authority and other development partners in Lesotho.

• Poor households continue to rely on market purchases to access food, though their low purchasing power is limiting access to adequate quantities of food. Income sources are mostly limited to agriculture labor and remittances, and agricultural labor opportunities are lower than usual. Access to green foods, which typically provides slight improvements in food access toward the end of the lean season, will occur later than normal with delayed harvests. As a result, most poor households in Lesotho will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) until May, when main harvests will improve food access and lead to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity in some areas between May and July. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is likely at the area level in August and September.