The latest report by the Famine Early Warning Systems (FEWS) has warned that 225,000 Basotho will face food shortages for three months until February 2018. This represents 10% of Lesotho’s 2.1 million population.
The FEWS report titled “Lesotho Remote Monitoring Update” notes that the 2017/18 lean season is expected to be less severe than what the country experienced in the 2015/16 spell, thanks to the prolonged drought.
“However, the annual vulnerability assessment and analysis still estimates that approximately 10% of Basotho are likely to be found without food at the peak of the lean season (December 2017 to February 2018),” the report adds.
Very poor households from Quthing, Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek and Mokhotlong are likely to be the most affected.
According to the report, the high availability of cereal contributed markedly to the reduction of maize prices by an estimated 9% between July and August 2017.
“The situation was likely to change with prices gradually increasing as the lean season peaks when household demand picks up and households become more market dependent,” the report says.
It says, because of good seasonal rainfall and crop performance last season, households are anticipating a good next season when farm labour opportunities will also improve for poor and very poor households.
FEWS was established by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1985 to provide early warning and analysis on acute food shortages.
FEWS findings and recommendations help governments and relief institutions to plan and respond to humanitarian problems.