Relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and border openings likely to improve livelihoods recovery
Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes persist in Lesotho. The relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions by the government in early October is likely to stimulate economic activity and improve household opportunities to engage in livelihood activities. The reopening of normalized border crossings in early October between Lesotho and South Africa is expected to increase informal border trade opportunities and provide migrant workers with access to South African labor markets. There are still COVID-19 control measures in place, including the need for travel permits by migrant workers. Access to informal cross-border trade is anticipated to gradually improve economic and incomeearning opportunities for households affected by the border closures.
In October 2020, the UN World Food Program (WFP) began implementing a six-month crisis response program to address growing food insecurity driven by poor crop production and COVID-19 impacts on livelihood activities. Approximately 5,600 households receive 811 LSL (50 USD) cash and voucher interventions per month in Thaba Tseka and Mokhotlong. The interventions are improving food access for the targeted households. Poor households that are not receiving assistance are likely to face increasing food consumption gaps as the lean season progresses.
International and local forecasts indicate that Lesotho should expect a cumulatively average rainy season. Many households anticipate improving household food stocks and income following the past consecutive poor seasons. As rainfall onset dates are approaching in late October/early November, farmers will intensify preparations for the upcoming agriculture season. Land preparation is ongoing, with some households dry planting maize. However, limited residual moisture in the mountains is reducing the rate of early and dry planting.