The European Union (EU) has released it’s most recent Anomaly Hotspots of Agricultural Production (ASAP) assessment, which predicts that food security in already-struggling African countries will be exacerbated by low production outputs in 2022.
The report, released annually since its first in 2019, breaks down the factors impeding or worsening food security in the various regions of the continent. It makes use of satellite data provides by NASA’S Earth Observatory, which is able to view the world’s croplands from outer space. Here is a breakdown of the factors influencing the predicted lowered agricultural output for Africa in 2022:
There is growing concern in East Africa that the region would have its fourth straight poor rainfall season during the March-May 2022 rains. For April-June, the Copernicus C3S multi-model rainfall forecast shows a strong possibility of drier-than-average conditions in the Horn and wetter-than-average conditions in South Sudan, Western Kenya, Ethiopian Highlands, and Uganda.
“The pressure on food security caused by the exceptionally prolonged drought appears even more threatening with the increase in food prices and the challenges of small-scale farmers to access fertiliser. A high number of people in the region (45-55 million) need humanitarian food and nutrition assistance to prevent Crisis or worse outcomes between January and May 2022,” the report read.
A rainfall deficit in Southern Africa, which began in February in the central and eastern parts of the region, continued to affect the eastern part of the region in early March. Rainfall improved in mid-March, but tropical storms Ana and Gombe, as well as the effects of the October-December drought, are reducing national crop production. In South Africa, Eswatini, and Lesotho, on the other hand, above-average output is expected.
With the arrival of seasonal rains in March, land preparation and sowing activities for the first maize season have begun in the southern bimodal areas of the region along the Gulf of Guinea coast. Rainfall has been average over the last month, while vegetation in southern Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, and areas of Cote d’Ivoire has been somewhat below average. According to the most recent CH analysis in March 2022, the food security situation in the region has deteriorated significantly, with around 38.3 million people expected to be in crisis or worse by June-August 2022 if no action is taken.
Drought stress has hit the winter cereal season, and rainfall in March arrived too late for most crops to recover. Reduced yields are projected in Morocco and western Algeria. With the projected food price inflation connected to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a low winter wheat harvest in one or more North African nations is of special concern.
“Similarly, in the Middle East, prospects for winter cereals are poor in the north of Syria and north and east of Iraq due to poor rainfall and poor socio-economic conditions since autumn 2021. In contrast, biomass of winter crops is still close to average in Iran and in Yemen land preparation is ongoing under favourable conditions,” the report added.