Food Security Early Warning System - Agromet Update, Issue 5: 2016/2017 Agricultural Season
- Good rains continued to the end of season in most areas, resulting in positive production expectations in several countries.
- The high seasonal rainfall improved dam and groundwater levels, providing good water availability for irrigation over the coming seasons.
- Preliminary reports suggest the regional impact of the Fall Armyworm was not severe. However, experts advise robust, coordinated control measures for coming seasons.
Seasonal rainfall and temperature overview Central and southern parts of the region received well above-normal rainfall during the October-to-March 2016-17 rainfall season (Figure 1, blue oval #1). Many areas, including parts of Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe received more than one and a half times their normal seasonal rainfall.
Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland and Zambia also received above-average rainfall over the course of the season. The bulk of the rains fell in January and February, although some areas received heavy rains from as early as November (parts of Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland) and December (parts of Mozambique and Zimbabwe). In several areas, including parts of the above-mentioned countries, the onset of rains was delayed. After the good January and February rains, most areas had a sharp decline in rainfall in March. The preceding rains had however been high enough that most areas were not affected by the March dryness. In many places that experienced high rainfall, temperatures were also below average for much of the season, which reduced evapotranspiration.
Other parts of the region received below average seasonal rainfall. These include central and western Angola, northeastern Tanzania, much of Madagascar and western South Africa (Figure 1, red ovals #2, #3, #4, and #5 respectively).
In some of these areas, the seasonal rainfall totals were less than 75% of average, which is significantly below average, on seasonal time scales.
The first 20 days of April saw an increase in rainfall in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa, after a relatively dry March. Rainfall tapered off in late April, although some areas in Zimbabwe and central Mozambique received higher than usual rainfall amounts for this time of year.