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Crop prospects and food situation in southern Africa

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

April 2006

Further information on specific countries can be found on the GIEWS Workstation at: http://www.fao.org/giews/workstation/page.jspx
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Global information and early warning system on food and agriculture

In Southern Africa, rainfall, especially during the critical months of January and February, for the main season crops planted in November-December was very favourable. More specifically, central parts of the region has received significant amount of precipitation through out this season. However, erratic rains including some dry spells were experienced on the southern periphery of the region (namely in parts of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland), on the northern periphery (in areas such as northern Malawi, northern Zambia and northern Mozambique) and on the western edge (namely in south west Angola). Estimated cumulative rainfall during the first half and the second half of the season is shown in the satellite images (Figure 1a and 1b) below and the resulting NDVI for the most recent dekad for the region is shown in Figure 2. In much of the central part of the region, good rains not withstanding the yields will also depend on other factors as availability of key inputs (fertilizer, chemicals and/or labour for weeding, etc.). Leaching of nutrients due to excessive rains and waterlogging conditions, at certain times, has been a problem in Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Angola among other areas.



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