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News article11 January 20191 min read

Drought affects short rains harvest in East Africa and crop growth in Southern Africa; conditions good in the Middle East and central Asia

ASAP hotspot assessment of 11/01/2019
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According to the December edition of the JRC's Anomaly Hotspots of Agricultural Production (ASAP) assessment, dry conditions during the short rains in East Africa have led to below-average harvests in several countries in the region, whereas, in the southern part of the continent, crop conditions are affected by mid-season dryness. Winter cereal development continues to be favourable in the Middle East and Central Asia, whereas hot and dry conditions need to be monitored closely in North Africa.

Main findings of the December global overview:

  • Irregular and insufficient short rains have caused mixed production outcomes in East Africa, with production levels 40% below the long-term average in Somalia, and several other areas affected in south-east Ethiopia, Eastern Kenya and north-west Tanzania. Rainfall deficits since October have also reduced crop and pasture productivity in parts of South Sudan, where food security is particularly critical due to the ongoing conflict.
  • In Southern Africa, dry and hot conditions starting in November have continued to hamper crop conditions in December, which is a crucial month for seasonal rainfall. A clear rainfall improvement in January is needed for crop recovery.
  • In Yemen, the main cereal-growing season is over but autumn drought could further decrease cereal availability (e.g. for millet). The humanitarian crisis, however, depends mainly on import and monetary factors linked to the conflict.
  • Winter cereals planted in October/November in the Middle East and in Central Asia generally show positive early season conditions, whereas rainfall and temperatures have been less favourable in December for Northern Morocco and coastal Algeria.
  • In the northern Philippines rain-fed rice and maize harvests are lowered by rainfall deficits in December.

The next assessment is scheduled for the end of January 2019.

Further information

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Anomaly Hotspots of Agricultural Production (ASAP) assessment


Publication date
11 January 2019