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FAO 2020-2021 La Niña advisory

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Potential impacts on agriculture and food security in high-risk countries


The second half of 2020 saw the emergence of a moderate to strong La Niña event that is causing extreme weather in many parts of the world. The meteorological phenomenon that affects temperatures, precipitation and storm patterns is expected to last into next year, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The last strong La Niña event was from late 2010 to early 2011, followed by a moderate event from late 2011 into 2012 and a weak one in from late 2017 into 2018. The 2020–2021 La Niña episode puts some countries in Southern Africa, the greater Horn of Africa, Asia and the Pacific at high risk of incurring agricultural losses and seeing food insecurity conditions worsen. As a result, these countries should be prioritised for further monitoring, analysis and early action.
This advisory provides an overview of the historical impact of La Niña and an outlook of the potential effects on the agriculture sector in 2020–2021. Importantly, it also offers specific recommendations for anticipatory actions to mitigate the impacts of La Niña before it creates large-scale food security emergencies.