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Lesotho: From labour reserve to depopulated periphery

Mine workers in SA

MASERU - Lesotho was one of the largest sources of Black labor in South African mining for well over a century. In the heyday of South African reliance on Basotho labor in the gold mines, to work in the mines for at least a year or two was a normal part of becoming an adult for men from Lesotho.

From the late 1940s through the early 1970s, most able-bodied men could obtain a contract as a novice to work in the mines. However, at that time, mine wages for Blacks were low, no higher in real terms in 1969 than before World War I, and not sufficient to maintain a family in Lesotho. Most migrants therefore worked several contracts to save enough money to pay a bride price, and then "retired" to farming in Lesotho.

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FAO optimistic of food security in Lesotho

Now...Lesotho expects bumper harvest

MASERU - Just when Lesotho and Southern Africa as a whole are reeling from the effects of two consecutive years of El Nino-induced drought between 2015 and 2016 that affected the majority of people in the country, the threat to the food security still remains - largely due to the after-effects of the drought as well as climate change. 

It has been reported that the drought has affected over 40 million people in Southern Africa and reduced food availability by 15 percent and caused a cereal deficit of 9 million tons and Lesotho is no exception. The government declared a state-of-food-emergency in December 2015 and the 2016 harvest was forecasted to be much lower as the drought affected 2015/16 agricultural year. Government still continues to subsidise the pricing of basis commodities such as maize, beans and other cereals.

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