GIEWS Country Brief: Afghanistan 29-May-2020

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  • Generally favourable weather conditions for crop development

  • Average cereal import requirements forecast in 2020/21

  • Food prices and inflation increasing

  • High levels of food insecurity prevail

Generally favourable weather conditions for crop development

Harvesting of the 2020 winter wheat and barley started in May in the eastern part of the country and will be completed by July by the harvesting of fields in the mountainous areas. Planting of spring wheat was completed in April. The majority of the wheat grown in the country is of rainfed winter cultivation.

Most of the country received timely and well-distributed rains and favourable crop conditions prevail. Severe precipitation deficits occurred in northern provinces where precipitation amounts were well below average until April 2020 and rainfed wheat conditions are below average. In these areas, reports indicate that planted area is below average.

Adequate snow volumes in mountainous areas during the winter are critical for crop development and availability of irrigation water for spring and summer crops. Snow water volumes are at average levels in most basins across the country, but remain low in the northeast.

While heavy precipitation in late March and April 2020 benefited crop development, it caused floods in Faryab, Badghis, Ghor, Baghlan, Takhar, Badakhshan and Parwan provinces, and landslides in Badakhshan and Ghor provinces. Spring floods caused only limited damage to the well-established winter cereal crops, but damaged agricultural infrastructure. Spring wheat was not yet planted.

Adequate precipitations benefitted pasture availability in most rangelands, supporting livelihoods relying on livestock rearing. In the Nimruz Province adjacent to the Iranian border, a mature adult group of desert locusts was spotted in April 2020. Ground teams treated 20 hectares.