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Southern Africa: Growing Season - A Season of Regional Drought, 2015-2016


  • One of the strongest El Nino events on record in 2015-16, has led to a regional scale drought comparable in extent and intensity with that of 1991-92.
  • Severe and widespread rainfall deficits particularly pronounced in the first phase of the season (in many places the driest since at least 1981), continued until mid-February: this resulted in prolonged delays in the start of the agricultural season and extremely unfavourable conditions for crop development.
  • Recent above average rainfall from late February comes too late to be of significant benefit in most affected areas. The early season drought had already led to irreversible losses in planted area.
  • Consequently, regional crop production is set for a sharp decline for a second year in a row – South Africa’s maize crop is expected to fall by 27 percent compared to last year and 38 percent below the 5 year average.
  • Food prices across the region have risen sharply and the number of food insecure people requiring humanitarian assistance is currently estimated at 31.1 million. These numbers will increase further, peaking in late 2016 to early 2017. Major concerns are Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Malawi but other countries are also affected.


Programme Alimentaire Mondial
Date de publication initiale: 
30 mar 2016
Type de Document: 
Gestion de l'Information
Classification de la Phase de Sécurité Alimentaire Intégrée (IPC)
Catastrophes Naturelles