Delayed onset of seasonal rains in parts of Southern Africa raises serious concern for crop and livestock production in 2016

The El Niño weather phenomenon is expected to be the fiercest in 18 years at the start of 2016 and threatens to adversely affect crop and livestock production prospects in Southern Africa, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. A reduced agricultural output would follow on 2015 disappointing season, which has already contributed to higher food prices and could acutely impact the food security situation in 2016, said to a special alert released on December 22 by FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS). GIEWS said that the season for planting maize in Southern Africa had already experienced delays, while crops sown faced the prospect of being negatively affected due to inadequate rains and higher temperatures. It’s the sixth week of the cropping season now and there’s not enough moisture in the soil.