Effects of drought arrive in Southern Africa

from Missionary International Service News Agency
Published on 14 Aug 2012 View Original

The drought striking various areas across the globe, including the US, is causing a sharp rise in the price of certain commodities, in particular maize. According to the South African media, the decline in maize production and therefore drop in availability has boosted the price by 40 percent in respect to the same period last year, due also to the weakness of the rand in respect to the US dollar.

The effects are also being felt further to the north. In Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland region, ranchers are forced across the border with South Africa in search of grazing land. According to the Zimbabwe News Day, many are also bartering part of their livestock for forage. In the Gwanda area, ranching has become impossible due to the absence of water and grazing land.

Southern Africa is generally experiencing the effects of the drought, even indirectly. The sharp rise in food prices is felt also in Mozambique, though the government of Maputo is promoting strategies advocating changes in the farming system, urging farmers to grow drought-resistant cereals.

Also the FAO (UN Food and Agricultural Organization) warned of the severe effects of the drought, indicating that the Food Price Index, which measures monthly price changes for a food basket of cereals, sugar, oilseeds, meat and dairy, in July was up 6%, with peaks of 17% for cereals and 23% for maize. [GB/BO]