“Dryness due to El Niño may prolong lean season and deteriorate food security outcomes”-FEWSNET

Credit: http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/05/22/el-nino-forecast-noaa
Credit: http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/05/22/el-nino-forecast-noaa

Continuing with our series on El Nino and Agriculture, FEWSNET has just released the following report which discusses the issue and its impact in Mozambique.

Here are key messages from the report;

  • Mid-season dryness during the 2015 growing season in areas of the south led to reduced crop yields and crop failure, as well as significant water shortages for human and livestock use. The combination of these shocks and the current slow start of the season has worsened food security outcomes for poor households in parts of Gaza, Inhambane, Sofala, and Niassa Provinces, who are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes at least until 2016 staple harvests.
  • The ongoing El Niño has led to a delayed onset of rains in much of central and southern Mozambique, by up to 40 days. Erratic rainfall has also affected planting, and has damaged crops planted with typical timing. The El Niño will likely suppress rainfall in southern and central Mozambique throughout the rain season ending in March/April 2016.
  • Although maize grain prices were 60 to 70 percent above the five-year average in most monitored markets in November, the prices of some marketed food substitutes such as cassava, maize meal, and rice remain closer to the five-year average and last year.

In a related development, the President of Malawi has requested Malawians to brace themselves for impacts of El Nino as livelihoods may be heavily affected.

A similar report for Malawi says that

Seasonal progress across most of the country [Malawi] is poor. Many parts of the country, especially the central region, are experiencing a delayed onset of rains and dryness. In some areas soil moisture is not conducive for planting, and this in turn will continue to limit agriculture labor opportunities and may delay the availability of green foods before the harvest in 2016. According to international forecasts, rainfall between January and March is likely to be below average in southern and central Malawi.

Happy new year!

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Edwin kenamu

I am an agricultural economist. I have a strong passion in understanding agricultural policy frameworks and how they can be improved so as to enhance livelihoods in agricultural households.

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