500,000 PEOPLE FOOD INSECURE - NJOROGE
World Food Programme (WFP) Representative and Country Director, Ms. Mary Njoroge says 500,000 people are food insecure and in need of assistance due to the current severe drought in Lesotho.
She stated that the agricultural sector in Lesotho has declined substantially in the past 30 years adding that drought and massive land degradation are amongst the significant challenges that have led to the country&001;s poor agricultural performance.
“The government&001;s public works programme is an important pillar of the national social protection system and aims to designing appropriate activities that control erosion of soil and improve the resilience of Basotho communities to shock events such as drought” she said.
She pointed out that WFP Lesotho and the Ministry of Forestry has in 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on remodelling the national public works to be shock responsive and result oriented.
“This involved introducing changes in the design, implementation and monitoring of public works programme to be able to target the most vulnerable Basotho and assist them to create quality, valuable assets that address root causes of vulnerability and poverty,” she said.
Ms. Njoroge indicated that in response to the prevailing drought situation in Lesotho, WFP Is supporting the government to implement a shock responsive public works programme in 22 project sites in Mafeteng, Mohale&001;s Hoek, Quthing, Butha Buthe and Maseru.
She said in these districts, WFP provides cash transfers to additional public works participants adversely affected by drought. She further said, in addition to the cash transfers, WFP provides technical assistance to the Ministry of Forestry on targeting, proper planning and implementation of asset creation processes aligned to the principles of environmental management as well as monitoring and evaluation.
Ms. Njoroge emphasised that WFP Lesotho through its Country Strategic Programme 2019-2024, will continue to work together with the Ministry of Forestry in improving the operational and technical capacity of public works programme to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency in reducing vulnerability.
Deputy Prime Minister, currently Acting Prime Minister, Dr. Monyane Moleleki has on Wednesday in his statement in the National Assembly announced a state of drought emergency in the country.
He reiterated Government&001;s resolve to reduce the adverse effects of the prevailing drought, adding that Government views this declaration as a temporary measure to mitigate the drought impact on the populace.
Lesotho is prone to drought, which periodically occurs causing havoc to water sources, agriculture production, food security and the environment just to name a few.
In the recent past, drought incidents occurred during the years 1998/99. 2003/04, 2007/08, 2012/2013 and the most recent one in 2015/16.