Food security in Lesotho improved significantly in 2017 due to one of the best harvests in recent years: some 307,000 people were food insecure as of January 2018 compared to 709,000 people in 2016-2017. Despite this improvement, approximately 15 per cent of the population were projected to be in need of food assistance during the current lean season (October 2017 – March 2018).
However, since the start of the 2017-2018 lean season rainfall has been performing poorly. As of February 2018, cumulative rainfall across most of the country was estimated to be 10-50 per cent below normal. These moisture deficits were expected to negatively affect crop development and crop yields for the 2018 harvest. Grazing pastures are also expected to deteriorate faster than usual this year, resulting in worsening livestock body conditions.
The main sources of income in Lesotho are casual labor, remittances and livestock sales. However, the expected poor 2018 harvest performance could affect casual labor opportunities for poor households. In-kind payments also declined in expectation of a reduced crop yield during2018 harvest. Nonetheless, food supplies in markets were still good and households were accessing food through market purchases at the start of 2018.