- Most of Southern Africa experienced erratic rainfall, delayed start of rainy season and extended midseason dry-spell from December to February which have wilted early planted crops in the region.
- In March 2018, significant rainfall was received in central and eastern parts of South Africa.
Cereal production during the upcoming harvest season in Southern Africa is expected to be below average, despite the heavy late rains, which benefitted the late planted crops. This is due to a late start of the rainy season, minimal to no rains during the critical planting season (December -January), high temperatures and the prevalence of Fall Armyworm (FAW).
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Cereal production forecast to decline to well belowaverage levels in 2018, primarily on account of poor seasonal rains
Food prices mostly unchanged on yearly basis as of early 2018
Food security conditions expected to worsen in 2018 due to expected decrease in agricultural production
Poor weather expected to result in sharp cut to 2018 cereal production
The application is vital for early detection of Fall Armyworm and guiding best response
14 March 2018, Rome - FAO has launched a mobile application to enable farmers, agricultural workers and other partners at the frontline of the fight against Fall Armyworm in Africa to identify, report the level of infestation, and map the spread of this destructive insect, as well as to describe its natural enemies and the measures that are most effective in managing it.
Maize is the main staple and cereal crop. Maize crop failures in the region have historically had significant impact on food security.
Erratic rainfall, high temperatures and persistent Fall Armyworm infestation lower cereal crop production prospects for 2018 in Southern Africa.
- 75% shortfall in rain in large parts of the region during January
- 14,732 cholera cases and 218 deaths reported since 2017
- 234,200 people affected by floods and cyclones in 2018
Regional maize supplies remain high and sufficient to satisfy needs for the remainder of the 2017/18 marketing year (Figure 1 and Annex 1). Estimated maize surpluses are significantly above average in South Africa (Figure 2). In Zimbabwe, a chronically grain deficit country, the 2017/18 marketing year deficit is substantially lower than average.
Early action crucial to avert crisis
09 February 2018, Johannesburg/Harare - Prolonged dry spells, erratic rainfall, high temperatures and the presence of the voracious fall armyworm have significantly dampened Southern Africa’s current agricultural season’s cereal production prospects. Early action in the form of consolidating information through assessments and anticipatory measures that reduce the impact of threats are crucial for an effective response.
Erratic rainfall, high temperatures and persistent Fall Armyworm infestation lower cereal crop production prospects for 2018 in southern Africa.
In the absence of consistent rains for the remainder of the season, dry conditions experienced in December to January will further diminish water supplies for domestic, agricultural and commercial use.
These conditions are likely to have far reaching consequences on access to adequate food and nutrition and ability of farmers to produce in the 2018/19 consumption year.
Windhoek-Southern Africa is still battling to recover from the 2015/16/ El Niño-induced drought, which by last year had affected about 41 million people across the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
Windhoek-As livestock and crop farmers across Namibia fear another drought, the prospects for rain this week has improved, while the continuation of seasonal rainfall during February will be critical to crop development and production.
According to the UN’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network Report, a weakening of the suppressed convective weather pattern, and a return towards a more seasonably rainfall distribution throughout much of Southern Africa in early February could translate into widespread moderate to locally heavy precipitation over several anomalous dry regions.
Dry conditions intensified in the southern half of the region, threatening production prospects in several areas. Abnormally high temperatures accompanied these dry conditions. Short term rainfall forecasts suggest little respite in the near-term.
Good rains were received in the northern half of the region, promoting good crop conditions.
A cyclone made landfall in Madagascar, causing fatalities, displacement of populations, damage to infrastructure and flooding of thousands of hectares planted to rice.
Cyclical drought, food insecurity, cyclones, floods, disease outbreaks, and complex emergencies present significant challenges to vulnerable populations throughout the Southern Africa region. Between FY 2008 and FY 2017, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) and USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) provided humanitarian assistance in response to a range of natural and man-made disasters.
- Good rains were received in the northern half of the region.
- Low rainfall in the southern half of the region led to delays in planting and crop moisture stress in some areas.
- Vegetation conditions deteriorated in southern and eastern parts of the region.
- A fall armyworm outbreak has affected 20 out of 28 districts in Malawi.
New publication launched: Local Humanitarian Action in Practice – Case Studies and Reflections of Local Humanitarian Actors
- Onset of seasonal rains is delayed in parts of South Africa and Lesotho
- Rainfall season has started on time in northern parts of the region, and most other areas are expected to experience onset of rains in November
- Integrated pest management strategies have been recommended for countering fall armyworm outbreaks
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Southern Africa continues to recover from the 2015/2016 El Niño-induced drought, which by January 2017 had affected about 41 million people across the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)1. The substantial government- and SADC-led response, supported by $900 million from the international humanitarian community2, empowered farmers to take advantage of a good 2016/2017 rainfall season, delivering an April 2017 cereal harvest 3 per cent above the 5-year average.