MASERU — A report released by the Bureau of Statistics indicates that Lesotho is likely to have a better harvest in three major crops this year.
The crop forecasting report presented to stakeholders at a workshop on Friday says the country is likely to improve its production of maize, sorghum and wheat.
Maize cereal yield per hectare for the 2012-13 agricultural year is estimated at 0.75 metric tonnes per hectare, an increase of 41.4 percent when compared to 2011-12.
Wheat is estimated at 1.27 metric tonnes per hectare, an increment of 47.7 percent while sorghum is estimated at 0.27 metric tonnes per hectare, a growth of 31.1 percent.
The report shows that the area planted is 173 793 hectares, a 20.4 percent increase on last year’s 144 278 hectares.
The area that lied fallow is 73 632 hectares, a decrease of 46.3 percent from the previous year.
Head of Agriculture and Food Security statistics division, Thabo Sophonea, said the intention of the workshop was to inform government planners and the private sector with forecasted crop production so that they can make informed decisions concerning availability of food in the country and to make necessary preparation if there is a shortage of food.
Sophonea said this year the forecast came earlier as opposed to August in previous years to allow the government to take immediate corrective action.
He said when there is a poor harvest the government has in the past delayed asking for help from the international community or prepare stores.
The assumptions used for the forecast are based on conditions such as weather and damage by pests.
One other important assumption is that there is no change in production of crops between date of forecast and final harvest.
Lesotho is currently grappling with severe food shortages.
The government has said more than 700 000 people are likely to need food aid this year and has requested donors to for help.