Drought ravages Lesotho as water is exported to South Africa

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    For farmer Mohlakoane Molise, the view of the enormous Katse dam from his smallholding high in the mountains of Lesotho taunts him daily.

    His country is suffering through its worst drought in 35 years, but the vast and vital water reserves remain out of reach, destined instead for export to neighbouring South Africa.

    “I am very angry about that water, because it could benefit us, we could use it to water the crops when there is a drought. But that’s not happening,” the 65-year-old widower told AFP.

    According to the World Food Programme (WFP), the 2016 harvest for Lesotho’s primary crop maize is estimated at 25,000 tonnes, a dramatic drop from last year’s 78,000-tonne haul.

    Instead, the mountainous kingdom –- entirely landlocked by South Africa -– must import food from its larger neighbour.

    But it too has been hit by the drought after the El Nino weather phenomenon wreaked havoc on the region’s rainfall patterns, and maize prices have sky-rocketed by 60 percent in the last year.

    According to the United Nations, 40 million people across southern Africa risk malnutrition by next year’s harvest.

    In a country where the overwhelming majority of families depend on their own crops for food and where nearly a quarter of the population is affected by AIDS, charities are predicting disastrous consequences by next year’s harvest.

    Earlier this year, the Lesotho government declared the drought a natural disaster.

    Source:The Guardian Nigeria

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