Reference Date: 22-January-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Favourable conditions of 2015 cereal crops despite delayed onset of seasonal rains
Cereal output in 2014 was estimated at an average level
Maize prices decrease in capital, Maseru, reflecting lower prices in South Africa (main supplier of imports)
Number of food insecure estimated to have increased in 2014/15
Generally favourable 2015 crop conditions despite delayed onset of seasonal rains
Following a slightly delayed onset of 2014/15 seasonal rains (October-March), which began a month later than normal, weather conditions have since been favourable. As a result, the 2015 cereal crops, to be harvested from May, are reportedly in good condition. An estimated 18 500 people have been targeted to receive agricultural input support in the current cropping season from the Government and FAO.
Average cereal harvest estimated in 2014
The 2014 cereal crop, harvested in June last year, is estimated at 104 000 tonnes, similar to 2013’s near-average output. At 86 000 tonnes, maize accounts for almost all of the cereal harvest, while the winter wheat crop largely constitutes the remaining output. Despite a significant 26 percent increase in the area planted to maize, heavy rains and frost damage contributed to a reduction in yields and resulted in a marginally reduced output.
Faster maize import rate in 2014/15
Maize imports from South Africa between April and mid-January 2015, in the 2014/15 marketing year (April/March), have reached about 90 000 tonnes, nearly twice the level of the same period in the previous marketing year, satisfying about 90 percent of the estimated import requirement. The lower prices in South Africa have contributed to the faster import rate.
Prices of maize meal decline in Maseru and remain generally stable elsewhere
Prices of maize meal in the capital, Maseru, declined between July and December, and were at similar levels to a year earlier. Lower prices in South Africa contributed to the decreases in 2014. Elsewhere, prices remained generally stable and comparable to the levels of the previous year.
Larger number of food insecure in 2014 compared to 2013
According to the 2014 Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment Committee (LVAC) report, released in June, the estimated number of persons requiring food assistance increased to 447 760 from 223 055 in the previous year. The current level, however, still remains below the numbers estimated for 2010/11 and 2011/12. The highest concentration of food insecure persons are located in the western districts of Maseru, Mafeteng and Mohale's Hoek and will require food assistance for an expected four-month period from October/November 2014 to February/March 2015.