The State of Poverty and Food Insecurity in Maseru, Lesotho

Lesotho regularly features in the African and international media as a country blighted by drought, hunger and food insecurity. Much of the discussion about the causes and remedies for food insecurity, including within Lesotho itself, focuses on the rural population and the precipitous decline in domestic food production in recent decades. The IFRC, for example, recently argued that “persistent food insecurity continues to be a chronic problem in Lesotho and a key obstacle in the country’s development agenda. The food crisis has been amplified due to the existence of a number of interlinking issues including periodic droughts which have led to crop failures, excessive soil erosion, declining rangeland conditions, chronic poverty and the effects of HIV on the labour force.” In August 2012, the Lesotho Prime Minister, Motsoahae Thomas Thabane, declared a food security state of emergency in Lesotho. As well as calling for increased food aid, he proposed several emergency responses including (a) implementing the National Strategic Development Plan in which agriculture is one of the key strategies; (b) improving agricultural productivity and food security through maximum use of arable land, subsidized inputs and promotion of drought-resistant crops; (c) scaling up conservation farming and homestead farming/gardening; and (d) promoting nutrition services to pregnant women and mothers. Since food security planning and response is the line responsibility of the Lesotho Department of Agriculture and Food Security, it is perhaps not surprising that food insecurity is viewed exclusively as a rural problem and that the proposed solutions all focused on smallholder farmers and rural development. This tendency is perpetuated and reproduced by most of the multilateral and bilateral donors who have set up shop in Lesotho.

Full paper entitled Urban Food Security Series No.21 via AFSUN

Photo credit: World Bank Photo Collection


Publication Type Report Series
Publisher African Food Security Urban Network (AFSUN)
Year 2016
Author(s) Resetselemang Leduka, Jonathan Crush, Bruce Frayne, Cameron McCordic, Thope Matobo, Ts’episo E. Makoa, Matseliso Mphale, Mmantai Phaila and Moipone Letsie
Editor(s) Jonathan Crush
ISSN 978-1-920597-12-2
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