The latest UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s annual Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition Report highlighted drought as one of the key factors contributing to the continuing rise in the number of hungry people in sub-Saharan Africa. And in South Africa, the Government’s Crop Estimates Committee announced that the country would harvest 20 percent less maize in 2019 because of drought conditions.
Drought, a period of inadequate rain or no rainfall, is the main cause of crop yield loss in Africa, ultimately causing food insecurity and famines. In early 2018, over 15 million people from countries ranging across the continent — including Somalia, Ethiopia, South Africaand Kenya — were affected by drought.
Drought isn’t uncommon in Africa. It happens somewhere on the continent every year. But weather patterns are becoming more unpredictable, as well as more severe. For example, the droughts of 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 made headlines across the continent and total cost the region an estimated at USD$ 372 billion.
Smallholder farmers are most affected by drought because many don’t have irrigation technology and rely on rainfall for their crops. With the unpredictability of rainfall patterns smallholder farmers are no longer able to plan their planting seasons. Read more