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FEWSNET predicts recovery for SA’s maize triangle

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) says the late-planted crop in the South Africa’s (SA) maize triangle is more likely to recover following above-average rains over the region since the last week of January.

In its latest Weather Hazards Bulletin for the period between 2 and 8 February, FEWSNET said moisture stress across the region will be relieved by the return of normal rains starting this week. Higher rainfall totals, ranging between 5 mm and 50 mm, were recorded in SA, Lesotho and Botswana in the past week.

“The highest totals were received across the Free State and KwaZulu Natal regions of the country. Towards the north, above-average rainfall was also registered over the Caprivi Strip region of northern Botswana and northern Namibia, however, seasonal rainfall remained limited towards the west in eastern Zimbabwe, and central and southern Mozambique.

“Consistent with the past several weeks, the bulk of the heaviest monsoon rains (up to 75 mm) were concentrated in the north-east region of Southern Africa, with many local areas registering weekly totals in excess of 100 mm in southwestern Tanzania, northern Mozambique and northern Madagascar,” reads the analysis.

However, the dry spell recorded across the region since October 2017 raised concerns for drought, water availability and the overall impact it would likely have on the crop farming season.

Also read: Dry conditions prevail in Southern Africa

“Ground moisture conditions have degraded in parts of Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Zambia and western Mozambique. However, ground reports suggest that late-planted crops in the maize triangle region of South Africa are more likely to recover with the latest increase in rainfall during late January,” FEWSNET said.

Widespread precipitation is expected across the Southern African region this week. However, unusually high temperatures are expected to persist over Zimbabwe and Mozambique up to 8 February.

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