Early warning signs provide alarming indications of looming significant food supply shortages that are likely to impact on the next marketing season. The rains experienced in late March and early April provided some relief to livestock farmers, but arrived too late for both staple foods and cash crops. These adverse weather conditions are likely to reduce crop production in southern Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar and South Africa. The negative impact of flooding will also affect food security in Malawi, Madagascar and Mozambique. (OCHA, 29 May 2015)
Nearly 29 million people are currently food insecure in southern Africa region mainly due to the carry-over effects of the past poor harvest season combined with other structural factors. Unless a two-track approach is quickly taken to address the current food insecurity and to establish measures to mitigate against the El Niño effects, the existing food insecurity will deepen and increase in scope with its effects will last till 2017. (Southern African Food and Nutrition Security Working Group, 17 Nov 2015)
The combination of a poor 2014/15 season and an extreme early dry spell during the 2015/16 rainy season to date (November to February) over southern and western Madagascar has resulted in an intense drought...It is now estimated that close to 1.14 million people are food insecure in seven districts of southern Madagascar (80% of the population). About 665 000 people are severely food insecure and in need of urgent emergency food security support until the end of the 2016/17 lean season...On 22 March, the government of Madagascar has declared a state of emergency for southern Madagascar. (ECHO, 30 Mar 2016)
Lesotho last had normal rainfall between April and May 2015... An estimated 15-30 percent of Lesotho’s population is in need of humanitarian assistance to help them cope with this acute drought situation. The Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment Committee (LVAC) report for 2015 indicates deterioration in the food security situation with the number of people in need going from 447,760 to 463,936 (an increase in prevalence from 26% to 33%). (IFRC, 06 Apr 2016)
In Malawi, the prolonged dry spells and floods not only affected maize production but other crops such as ground nuts have also been affected, and harvests are down by 21%. This left more than 2.8 million people in Malawi food insecure for a period of between three to 8 months. 25 out of the 28 Districts in Malawi were affected. Of the 2.8 million people affected 886,204 were living in the hard hit flood-affected districts and 1,947,008 were in districts affected by poor rainfall. An estimated 20% to 40% of Malawi’s population were at that time reported to be in need of humanitarian assistance to help them cope with the acute food shortage. On 12 April 2016, the President of Malawi declared a state of national disaster as a result of prolonged dry spells during 2015/2016 season. (IFRC, 18 Apr 2016)
Mozambique is facing severe drought in the Southern and Central region of the country affecting approximately 1.5 million people. The Government activated the institutional red alert in the most drought affected provinces such as, Tete, Sofala, Gaza, Inhambane and Maputo aiming to intensify and expand the response actions, disburse additional funds planned for emergency situations and mobilize additional resources through the cooperating partners. (OCHA, 04 May 2016)
Based on preliminary results, the ZimVAC has indicated that the prevalence of rural food insecurity in Zimbabwe will be higher than the 30 percent revealed by the January 2016 Rapid Assessment. The global acute malnutrition (GAM) prevalence is likely to increase beyond the 5.7 percent indicated in January. (WFP, 14 Jun 2016)
Between October 2014 and February 2015, Namibia experienced highly erratic rainfall patterns that negatively impacted the planting and cultivation seasons. The recent 2016 assessment done by the office of the Prime Minister and Ministry of Agriculture estimated that 729,134 people were food insecure and 595,839 need immediate assistance due to the drought situation. Prolonged dry spells and extensive flooding characterized the planting season and resulted in delayed planting and destroyed crops. As a result, the 2014/15 crop production yields were 46% below average which put parts of country at high risk of food insecurity. (IFRC, 03 Aug 2016.)
November marks the normal start of the lean season in most of the region, but most countries experienced an earlier than normal start to the lean season this year because of the impact of the El Niño-drought in late 2015 and early 2016. Poor households in the most affected parts of the region including areas in Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe continue facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity outcomes with increasing areas likely falling into Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes during the peak period (Jan-Mar 2017) in the absence of adequate humanitarian assistance. (FEWS NET, 23 Dec 2016)
Southern Africa now facing the peak of the El Niño-induced drought food security crisis, which is expected to last at least until the harvest in March/April 2017. Until then, WFP and its partners will maintain expanded operations, aiming to reach more than 13 million vulnerable people with relief, recovery, resilience and development activities ... WFP reached 9.9 million people in December 2016 and 10.6 million in January 2017. As of March 2017, $833 million has been raised for the humanitarian programmes in the RIASCO Action Plan, leaving a gap of $448,000. However, without additional funding, critical humanitarian needs will not be met. (OCHA, 6 Mar 2017)
- SADC: Regional Humanitarian Appeal (Jun 2016)
- FAO Southern Africa El Niño Response Plan (2016/17)
- RIASCO Action Plan for Southern Africa: Response Plan for the El Niño-induced Drought in Southern Africa (May 2016-Apr 2017)
- UNICEF El Niño Eastern & Southern Africa Region Investment Case (23 Jun 2016)
Author: Marko Phiri
LUPANE, Zimbabwe, Nov 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Thabiso Dube isn't helping his mother at home, the scrawny 8-year-old is working alongside her, doing odd jobs in exchange for food.
He should be in class, but has virtually dropped out of school because he is always hungry, said his mother Sithandile Dube, of Lupane district in Matebeleland North province.
Read the full article
By Joe Brock
JOHANNESBURG, Nov 21 (Reuters) - South Africa may grant emergency aid to farmers in Gauteng province due to a severe drought that is scorching grazing pastures and threatening the key maize crop, a provincial official said on Saturday.
Authorities have earmarked some 450 million rand ($32 million) for drought-affected regions, but officials fear it may not be enough to stem the damage in the hardest-hit areas such as Gauteng and the southeastern province of KwaZulu-Natal.
2015/16 food security and vulnerability situation - (VAC 2015 Results)
Summary of the 2015/16 Botswana food security and vulnerability situation based on the results of the 2015 vulnerability assessment.
Increased rainfall to bring some relief to anomalously dry areas of South Africa
Africa Weather Hazards
Several consecutive weeks of above-average rainfall has increased the risk for flooding and river inundation in the White Nile, Jonglei, and Eastern Equatorial provinces of South Sudan.
Abnormal rainfall patterns during 2014/2015 have contributed to a spike in food insecurity, which is currently affecting at least 27.4 m people regionally (and this excludes Angola, which has yet to publish official figures; and Madagascar, which did not present to SADC, but where 1.9 m people are food insecure, of which 460,000 people are severely so). In Malawi and Zimbabwe, 2.8 m and 1.5 m people are food insecure respectively.
Pretoria - Government has added R96.6 million to the initial R352.6 million set aside to support South Africa’s drought relief efforts, says Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe.
At a post Cabinet briefing on Thursday, the Minister said this includes the purchase of 45 water tankers for the distribution of water to affected areas, borehole drilling and rehabilitation, water conservation and demand management, and water source augmentations.
Major Shocks & Hazards - Rainfall Performance 2014/15
• Prolonged dry spells then experienced from 2nd dekad of February 2015 to the 3rd dekad of March, 2015.
• The Prolonged dry spells were experienced in Western (all districts), Southern (all districts), Eastern Province (all districts), some parts of Central, Luapula, Muchinga, North-western and Lusaka Provinces being severely affected.
• The prolonged dry spells coupled with poor rainfall distribution shortened the growing season.
Overview 2014/15 Crop Production Season
• Crop Estimates indicated extremely poor crop harvest in all dry land crop producing regions
• Aggregate cereal production (white maize, pearl millet, sorghum and wheat) is estimated at 67,800 MT
• Reflecting a reduction of 46% below average and 49% lower than previous season
• Also 17% lower than the 2012/13 drought season
• 38,100 MT white maize, 15,300 MT pearl millet, 1,700 MT sorghum and 12,700 MT wheat.
Lubango - The second phase of the Institutional Development of the Water Sector Project (PDISA) will start in December, said Wednesday in Lubango, southern Huila province, the head of Environmental Area of National Water Department Alexandrina Pires.
Alexandrina Pires said that the project will benefit 1.3 million people of the provinces of Namibe, Lunda-Norte, Huila, Cuanza Norte, Moxico, Huambo, Uige, Malanje and Bié.
Summary of WFP assistance:
Harare, 18 November 2015 – The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has announced the allocation of US$ 8.1 million to Zimbabwe to support life-saving interventions in its Food Insecurity Response Plan launched in October 2015.
Objectives of Assessment 2014/15
To assess the status of livelihoods and vulnerability in rural households and provide timely information for programming and decision making.
To understand the different capabilities (assets) of households to cope with crises such as droughts, floods, economic fluctuations, plant or animal pests and diseases.
Use the Household Economy Approach to get the numbers of people food insecure for the consumption period 2015-2016.
Overview 2014/15 Livestock
The livestock census indicates 8% National increase in sheep and goats though there is a significant decrease in Qacha’s Nek mainly due to livestock theft and diseases followed by Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek ,Thaba Tseka and Maseru.
Cattle herd size has declined by 7% in Qacha’s Nek, Thaba Tseka, Mokhotlong followed by a marginal increase in Berea compared to reference year.
Increase in livestock price ranging from 15 – 86% for cattle and 15 – 60% for shoats and an increase in both prices and quantity of wool and mohair
GABORONE / GENEVA (17 November 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Léo Heller, today urged the Government of Botswana to take the current extreme drought as an opportunity to develop a comprehensive strategy for providing access to safe drinking water and sanitation in the foreseen increasing water stress.
WASHINGTON DC— Some Zimbabwean farmers in Manicaland, Matabeleland North, Masvingo and Midlands provinces say lack of draught power, costly agricultural inputs and delayed rains are clear signs that Zimbabwe is heading for a disastrous crop season.
Some farmers, who spoke to Studio 7, said they are almost giving up even before the onset of the rains as domestic animals used for tilling the land are too weak while maize seed and other agricultural inputs are too expensive.
BINGA, MATABELELAND NORTH— The Ministry of Education recently reported that the number of school dropouts in the country is alarming as parents struggle to raise fees due to poverty.
But in remote Binga district, Matabeleland North, parents say it is not only about school fees but hunger that has forced the majority of school-going children to pull out of school.
Speaking to Studio 7 in Muchesu, which is about 80 kilometres from Binga town, parents said the current drought in the area has forced their children to stay at home.
The drought that may prevent many South African farmers planting this year could lead to food shortages and social unrest, and stall land redistribution
Hannes Geldenhuys, a burly farmer in South Africa’s Gauteng province, surveys his fields. At this time of year, they should be a green, thigh-high carpet of maize and soybean. Instead, all he sees is the decaying residue of his last crop: hectare upon hectare of brittle, yellowing stalks.
The ZIMVAC 2015 rural livelihoods assessment indicated that approximately 10% of the rural population is projected to be food insecure for the period of October - December 2015 and that 16% of the rural popultationis projected to be food insecure for the period of January - March 2016.