Lesotho Factsheet

Area:

30 352 km2

 

Population:

2.5 Million

 

Climate:

Lesotho’s climate has four distinct seasons of summer, autumn, winter and spring. Summer (November to January) is characterized by high temperatures and precipitation. Winter (May to July) is characterized by high-pressure dominance that results in clear skies, dry air, and warm temperatures during the day and a sudden drop in temperatures after sunset, and low precipitation. Autumn (February to April) and spring (August to October) are transitional periods between summer and winter, respectively. Precipitation patterns in Lesotho are determined by regional and local climate controls. The lowest average annual precipitation occurs in the Senqu River Valley (450 mm) and the highest in the north-eastern mountains zones (1300 mm).

Natural Resources:

The agricultural sector has historically been a major employer. However, the sector’s contribution to the GDP has declined from 30% in the 1980s to less than 20%.The economy of Lesotho is based on agriculture, livestock, manufacturing, mining and services. Agriculture constitutes 8%, industry at 33.9%, while services 57.7%.

Agriculture:

The principal crops in Lesotho are maize and sorghum which account for about 80 percent of the planted area followed by wheat (12 %) and bean or peas (7 %). Maize and sorghum are primarily cultivated for household subsistence, while wheat, beans, peas are grown mainly for cash crops. Other crops include sunflower, lentils and fodder crops. The foothills and lowlands of Lesotho are major fruit production areas.

Climate Vulnerabilities:

Lesotho continues to be immersed in an ongoing crisis of severe food insecurity and failing livelihoods. The impact of climate change on the agricultural sector in Lesotho will is quite significant with the country already importing 60% of its annual cereal requirement; recurrent droughts have lead to a steep decline in the production of cereals and other staple crops. Due to recurring droughts, fresh water availability is set to diminish. Frequent drought occurrences result in limited availability and quality of water leading to disease outbreaks compounded by famine and malnutrition.  Climate change induced drought also affects the generation of hydropower.

Source:

http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/napa/lso01.pdf

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