The major food security crisis has partly been pinned on the El-nino- induced drought, coupled with unpredictable weather conditions in recent years.
More than 500 000 people in Lesotho are food insecure according to the World Food Program (WFP).
Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro has said while the government is committed to buying crops such as maize and beans from local farmers to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, there have been notable shortages in the availability of maize.
“The government is buying from local farmers and so far there has been a shortage in the availability of maize. But as we continue, I would like to encourage more farmers to produce in large quantities. Purchases of maize and beans from local farmers continue in order to proceed to the second phase of this programme,” he said.
Maize is the staple diet in Lesotho, but according to WFP findings, only 9 percent of the country’s total landmass is suitable for cultivation. Many poor rural households lack access to agricultural land while those who do own land lack resources to maximize production.
Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government initiated the food distribution package programme through the Food Management Unit (FMU).
With a fund of M15 000 000 released from the government, food packages comprising 12.5kg of mealie meal and 5kg of beans have reached 19 252 recipients across all districts in the country during the first phase of the initiative.
Purchases of these food (maize and beans) was done specifically from local farmers, with the total sum of payment to Basotho farmers amounting to M4 158 785.15 to date.