• Good performance of the current growing season (October 2016 - April 2017) is badly needed for Southern Africa after two consecutive El Nino induced droughts that led to unprecedented levels of food insecurity.
• The growing season is now well established with favourable growing condition observed in most of Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and NE South Africa. However, excessive rains have led to instances of localized flooding and higher incidence of pests and diseases.
• Tanzania is being affected by a severe drought. Even if rainfall improves for the rest of the season, considerable impacts on crop production and pasture conditions are expected. Madagascar is also affected but to a lesser degree, with drought conditions particularly intense in eastern and northern provinces.
• Other areas affected by drier than average conditions include western Namibia and southwest Angola as well as the Eastern Cape region of South Africa.
• Seasonal forecasts indicate wetter than average conditions for February to April over most of the region.
However, Tanzania and Madagascar are likely to remain drier than average. Elsewhere, seasonal outcomes are balanced between favourable crop production and flood/waterlogging risk. In any case, major improvements in crop production relative to the past two years are expected.