Latest Southern Africa Fact Sheet

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Key Developments

The results of the UN World Food Program's June mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping survey in Lesotho found that low rainfall and high temperatures associated with the El Niño climatic event during the 2015/2016 growing season resulted in reduced yields and widespread crop failure. The report indicates that nationwide crop production contributed to less than 10 percent of national cereal requirements, with decreases in sorghum, maize, and wheat production by 88 percent, 61 percent, and 38 percent, respectively. Prices for staple goods in Lesotho, which imports a significant amount of food commodities from South Africa, have increased commensurate with price increases in South Africa. On June 1, the Government of Lesotho reported plans to subsidize maize meal and pulses by 30 percent through May 2017. Despite the subsidy, however, vulnerable households have limited access to maize meal due to persistent high prices and limited household purchasing power.

USAID's Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) has provided $7.5 million in FY 2016 funding to World Vision to support U.S. in-kind and locally and regionally procured food assistance for 50,000 people in Lesotho. USAID/FFP also supports the creation of 3 community assets, such as water harvesting and erosion control systems, that can reduce household vulnerability to future shocks.

USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA)  is responding to a regional drought in Southern Africa. Please visit our webpage for additional information.


Lesotho experiences erratic rainfall, recurrent droughts, and soil degradation, which can adversely affect food security. In addition to responding to urgent humanitarian needs, USAID/OFDA supports interventions to build the capacity of people in Lesotho to withstand disasters. For example, USAID/OFDA has supported programs to train emergency responders in Lesotho and supported initiatives to improve the land management and agricultural techniques of local farmers.

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Last updated: August 26, 2016

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