from PEDRO AGOSTO in Luanda, Angola
LUANDA, (CAJ News) – ANGOLA is enduring its worst drought in 40 years.
The drought is expected to significantly reduce cereal production and pasture availability in the Southern African country, amid severe consequences for food security in 2021.
This as significant rainfall shortfalls and high temperatures during the 2020/21 cropping season negatively impacting cereal crop and pasture conditions in key agriculture areas in the southwestern and central provinces.
Benguela, Huambo, Huila and Namibe are the provinces with the largest seasonal rainfall deficits. They produce about half of the national maize output.
Despite increased rains in March, the cumulative amount during the 2020/21 rainy season has been more than 30 percent below the long-term average, engendering the worst drought conditions since 1981.
The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) forecast the drought conditions to cause a sharp decline in national cereal production in 2021.
This would culminate in needs, mostly maize, during the 2021/22 marketing year.
Cereal production, predominantly maize, averaged 2,45 million tonnes between 2016 and 2020 and covered an estimated 60 percent of the national consumption needs.
During the same five-year period (2016-2020), imports of cereals averaged 1,4 million tonnes per year, of which wheat accounted for about half, and rice and maize comprised the remaining amount.
The current drought has also had a severe adverse effect on the availability and quality of pasture as well as water resources for livestock.
The provinces affected by drought are also important livestock producing areas, with Benguela and Huambo provinces accounting for about one-fifth of the national livestock production.
Meanwhile, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation responses are aggravating food insecurity.
Angola’s economy contracted by 4 percent in 2020.
It is expected to grow by less than 1 percent in 2021.
This has limited households’ ability to generate incomes and thus weighing on their capacity to purchase sufficient foods.
– CAJ News