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News article7 July 2022Joint Research Centre

Risk of famine in the Horn of Africa rising after exceptional drought; poor winter cereals output in the Middle East

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

ASAP hotspot assessment June 2022
ASAP hotspot assessment June 2022
© European Union, 2022

Main findings of the June global overview:

  • At the end of the main cereal season in Southern Africa production prospects vary across countries owing to mixed seasonal performance. The leading maize suppliers – South Africa and Zambia – are expecting maize outputs close to the 5‑year average while diminished cereal outputs are forecast in south-western Angola, Mozambique, Madagascar and parts of Zimbabwe. Although the region may have adequate maize availability to meet its demand, the combination of high food prices and high fertiliser prices would potentially push millions more into hunger and poverty (WFP, Seasonal Monitor, March 2022; WFP, Implications of the Ukraine Crisis).
  • Extreme drought conditions are affecting the East Africa region and crop conditions have deteriorated in Somalia, southern and central Ethiopia, central, eastern and southern Kenya, and parts of Uganda and Tanzania. The pressure on food security caused by the exceptionally prolonged drought in the Horn of Africa is rapidly increasing and is putting some areas in central and southern Somalia at Risk of Famine through September if current Gu season fails, food price increase and humanitarianassistance is not scaled up. The situation is further worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and consequent reduced supplies of wheat and vegetable oil, and high prices for food, fuel and fertiliser, in a region highly dependent on imports of grain and fertiliser.
  • In North Africa, at the end of the winter wheat season, prolonged drought caused crop failure and low cereal yields throughout Morocco and in the western part of Algeria. Latest yield forecasts indicate wheat and barley yields of less than 50% of the 5-year average in Morocco, and of ca. 20% below the 5-year average in Algeria (JRC MARS bulletin for June). Low winter wheat production in one or more countries in North Africa is of particular concern, given the high dependence of the region on cereal imports from Ukraine and Russia. Similarly, in the Middle East, prospects for winter cereals are poor in the north of Syria and the north and east of Iraq, due to low rainfall and poor socio-economic conditions since autumn 2021. In Iran, prospects are mixed: close to average in the north and below average in the south and east. In Yemen, food insecurity is still affecting an estimated 17 million people.
  • In West and Central Africa, crop conditions are generally favourable in the bimodal southern parts of the region, thanks to average to above-average rainfall in the past month. Early rainfall has been positive in most areas of the Sahel, supporting planting activities and early season crop development. However, the ongoing agricultural season is threatened by the insecurity and armed conflict that continue to affect livelihoods and impede access to croplands, as well as by the rise in prices for agricultural inputs, in particular fertilisers.  
  • In Central Asia, the harvest of winter crops has started, and prospects are favourable. In Afghanistan, winter cereals have been harvested and prospects are below average, especially for rainfed wheat. In South Asia, the harvest of rabi (winter cereal) crops in Pakistan has finalised and production is estimated to be 5% below 2021 levels. By contrast, in Bangladesh, harvests of boro and aus rice have finalised with good prospects. In Sri Lanka, second (yala) rice and maize crops are in good condition despite fertiliser and fuel shortages due to a serious economic crisis.
  • In South-East Asia, the dry season rice harvest finalised with good prospects. Planting and growth of wet season rice is favoured by early arrival of the monsoon. In Indonesia, the harvest of wet season rice finalised with good prospects, and planting and growth of dry season rice is taking place under favourable moisture conditions.
  • In Central America and the Caribbean, planting of main season (primera) maize, rice and sorghum has progressed under mostly favourable conditions. However, heavy rains affected horticultural and basic grain areas at an early growth stage in parts of western Honduras and eastern Guatemala, as well as rice and cassava fields in Gracias a Dios, Honduras. In Cuba, the harvest of (second) rice and maize is ongoing and production is expected to be below average (by 15% and 7%, respectively, FAO-GIEWS, June 2022). Economic shocks continue to affect both regions as high inflation for food, inputs and fuel is impacting agriculture and food security across all countries.

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


Publication date
7 July 2022
Joint Research Centre