• Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Elnino Threat: Over 20 million people will need food aid in Southern Africa

ByETimes

Nov 10, 2023

By ETimes

At least 20 million people will require food assistance in southern Africa between January and March next year owing to El Nino’s adverse effects, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) said.

Normal to below-normal rainfall is expected in the 2023–24 summer season, which is expected to impact the production of major crops such as wheat, tobacco and maize.

In 2024, crops across the board—including in Zambia and South Africa, which produce surpluses—will probably be below normal due to rainfall shortages.

“Furthermore, this shock follows localized below-average harvests in 2023 and poor macroeconomic conditions in Malawi and Zimbabwe. The negative impacts of the El Nino during the 2023/24 rainy season, including low labor opportunities and high food prices, are expected to offset any recent improvements from declining inflation,” FEWS NET stated.

Conflict in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the risks in the area that is also increasing the demand for food aid, according to FEWS NET.

“Overall, it is estimated that over 20 million people will be in need of food assistance during the January-to-March 2024 peak of the lean season.

“Furthermore, the expected below-average 2024 harvests will be exhausted earlier than usual, leading to comparably high food assistance needs at the start of the following lean season in late 2024 and signaling even higher needs when the lean season peaks in early 2025.

“Deficit-producing areas of Zimbabwe, southern Malawi, southern and central Mozambique, and southern Madagascar are of highest concern. Governments, donors, humanitarian partners, and other stakeholders should prepare for high food assistance needs through early 2025,” reads the report.

Zimbabwe had its largest corn crop in more than three decades, 2.8 million tonnes in 2020–21, while last year’s output was 2.2 million tonnes – Harare

By ETimes

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