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News article27 May 2020

Weather extremes and pest damage are worsened by COVID-19’s impact on food supply chains and market access

ASAP hotspot assessment of May 2020

The May 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 May global overview:

  • At harvesting time, production prospects for main season cereal crops in Southern Africa are generally favourable. Exceptionally good maize harvest is expected in South Africa. However, poor production in Zimbabwe, southern Madagascar, and southern Mozambique will decrease food availability to households affected by poor harvests. Recovery of rangelands is observed in Botswana and southern Angola, as compared to the poor 2019 season.
  • In East Africa, multiple stressors, such as floods, desert locusts, conflict, and insecurity are negatively impacting agriculture and food security conditions in the region, which is also dealing with COVID-19 movement restrictions. In particular, the virus containment measures could hamper the harvest activities which will be starting soon in the Belg areas of Ethiopia and in Somalia.
  • In West and Central Africa, generally good agro-climatic conditions are supporting first season maize crop conditions. However, the continued insecurity in central Sahel and southern Cameroon has had negative repercussions on agricultural activities. COVID-19 further increases the risk of food insecurity, and there are fears about ceased school meals.
  • In North Africa, below-average yields reflect the drought conditions which affected parts of the region. Morocco and central Tunisia are expecting below-average yields, whereas in Algeria, yields are forecasted to be close to the average. COVID-19 is likely to affect harvesting activities.
  • In the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia, production prospects for winter wheat are generally positive, despite floods in northern Afghanistan, and desert locust proliferation in Pakistan.
  • In South-East Asia, production prospects for dry season rice are below average in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia due to lack of irrigation water, and in the Philippines due to lack of rainfall. The northern half of North Korea is affected by a prolonged moisture deficit, as the main cropping season is about to start.
  • The Primera season is progressing well across Central America, with some areas of concern where rains have not really started in May (e.g. southern Honduras, northern Nicaragua, and eastern El Salvador). Dry weather has affected vegetation conditions in the main rice and cereal producing provinces of Cuba.

The next assessment is scheduled for the end of June 2020.

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Anomaly Hotspots of Agricultural Production (ASAP) assessment


Publication date
27 May 2020