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• The 2017-18 rainfall season was characterized by a late start, an extended mid-season dry spell (December-January) and heavy rains from February into April. The dry spell caused moisture stress and wilting of the early planted crops in many areas in Botswana, south-western Madagascar, southern Malawi, southern and some central parts of Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Cereal production during the upcoming harvest season in Southern Africa is expected to be below average, despite the heavy late rains, which benefitted the late planted crops. This is due to a late start of the rainy season, minimal to no rains during the critical planting season (December -January), high temperatures and the prevalence of Fall Armyworm (FAW).
• As the agricultural season drawsto a close, above normal rains in April in the southern parts of the region could improve pasture conditions. However, they are unlikely to mitigate the impact of earlier periods of extended dryness on crop production. Additionally, recent wet conditions, along with possibility of continued rains, may cause cob-rot among crops drying in the field.
Note: Document is 2 pages