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Crop Prospects and Food Situation Southern Africa #2, July 2022

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REGIONAL OVERVIEW

The majority of the 2022 summer cereal harvest is complete, while the minor winter wheat harvest is anticipated between September and October. Despite some erratic precipitation and the impact of tropical cyclones, global cereal production in 2022 is predicted to be close to average at 37.3 million tonnes.

Zambia and Zimbabwe are expected to produce 3 million and 2 million tonnes of cereal in 2022. Low crop yields in both countries were driven by an uneven temporal distribution of rainfall and overall below-average cumulative amounts. Tropical storms in early 2022 submerged cropland and caused localized crop losses, further reducing harvests. In Madagascar, total paddy production in 2022 is expected to remain above the five-year average due to generally favorable weather in the main producing central regions. However, extreme weather events have reduced outputs in eastern regions and damaged agriculture infrastructure. In 2022, food insecure southern regions suffered a sixth consecutive poor agricultural season due to drought, and major food crop harvests are expected to be low. In early 2022, two cyclones and one tropical depression in Mozambique damaged crops. Post-disaster assessments show high crop losses in flooded areas, and national cereal production is expected to fall in 2022. In Malawi, consistent and favorable rainfall since January 2022 helped keep national cereal production above average in 2022 despite a poor season start that required replanting in multiple districts. An above-average harvest is also estimated in Namibia for analogous reasons and near-average cereal outturns are foreseen in Eswatini and Lesotho.

As the growing season in 2022 was nearing its conclusion when the war in Ukraine escalated the cost of agricultural inputs, the conflict had little impact on agricultural output. However, there are grave concerns for the following season, as the elevated prices may restrict farmers' access to inputs, resulting in a decrease in the application of fertilizers and negative effects on 2023 production.