Skip to main content
EU Science Hub
News article7 February 2022Joint Research Centre

Severe and recurrent drought in Eastern and parts of Southern Africa

The January edition of the ASAP assessment provides overview of Anomaly Hotspots of Agricultural Production worldwide.

Map of agricultural anomaly production hotspots January 2022
ASAP hotspot assessment January 2022
© European Union, 2022

The January edition of the JRC's Anomaly Hotspots of Agricultural Production (ASAP) assessment is now available at:

Anomaly Hotspots of Agricultural Production (ASAP) assessment

Main findings of the January global overview:

  • In Southern Africa, persistent drought conditions and above-average temperatures in December affected crop development and pasture regeneration, mainly in northern and central Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar, south-eastern Zambia, and south-western Angola. Even though rains improved in January, prospects are not favourable as weather forecasts point to below-average rainfall in the next two months, except in South Africa, eastern Botswana and western Zimbabwe. The passage of Tropical Storm Ana on 22-25 January over central-northern Madagascar, northern Mozambique and southern Malawi with heavy rainfall caused river overflows, floods and landslides, resulting in casualties and widespread damage (ECHO-26/01). 
  • At harvesting time in East Africa, the negative effects of severe drought are clearly visible in the southern bimodal part of the region, while agro-climatic conditions in the unimodal northern part were generally better. Particularly affected are Kenya and Somalia, which have declared drought emergencies, as well as eastern Ethiopia. Consecutive seasons with below-average agricultural production, economic slowdowns and prolonged conflicts further raise the pressure on fragile agri-food systems, putting more than 20 million people in the region at risk of the worst food security crisis in 35 years (FEWSNET).
  • In West Africa, the main crop season has ended and has generally performed well with the aggregate production for the Sahel and West Africa estimated at 3.2% above the 5-year average (PREGEC, Nov 2021). Insecurity and conflict in some parts of the region remain a driver of food insecurity.
  • In North Africa, after a delayed onset of rainfall, winter cereal continue to suffer from drought stress in most of Morocco and parts of Algeria and Tunisia. On the other hand, in the Middle East, the biomass of winter cereals is close to average except in the northwest of Syria and east of Iraq.
  • In Central Asia, the biomass of winter crops is close to or above average, however with below-average rainfall forecast for the next 3 months, irrigation will be critical for crop production. In Afghanistan, a very large part of the population (up to 95%) suffers from food insecurity. In South Asia, prospects are favourable for Rabi crops (winter cereals) and Boro rice in Pakistan and Bangladesh, respectively. In Sri Lanka, moisture conditions are favourable for main season (Maha) rice and maize.
  • In South-East Asia, the wet season rice harvest ended in December with good prospects thanks to abundant seasonal rainfall. Planting and growth of dry season rice has started across the region under favourable conditions. In Indonesia, the harvest of dry season rice was completed in December with good prospects and planting of wet season rice started in November under good moisture conditions.
  • In Central America, countries are finishing the maize and beans (second) harvest and starting to sow maize, beans (third) and rice.  Poor vegetation conditions are observed across Haiti, parts of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and parts of Colombia. In Honduras, the main (Primera) season production is expected to be 50% below average (IPC, Jan 2022), and prospects for the second (Postrera) season are also poor due to prior dry conditions and lack of access to inputs. In Haiti, food security remains precarious due to various reasons (effects of prior dry periods, negative economic conditions, lingering effects of natural hazards).

The next assessment is scheduled for the end of February 2022.



Publication date
7 February 2022
Joint Research Centre