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The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
The May edition of the JRC's Anomaly Hotspots of Agricultural Production (ASAP) assessment, which was published on Monday, highlights agricultural production hotspots in East Africa due to heavy rainfall, in the Middle East due to failed sowing activities and high temperatures, and in Southern Africa due to a major early season dry spell.
Main findings of the May overview
Extended rainfall that was exceptionally above average in East Africa (up to 200% greater than normal in large parts of the Horn of Africa) has generally been beneficial for crops and rangeland areas, but major flooding along the region’s main rivers has damaged crops and irrigation infrastructure and increased the risk of livestock disease.
In the Maghreb, favourable agro-meteorological conditions throughout May have led to even higher yield forecasts. Morocco is expecting a bumper harvest and Algeria's yield expectations are now above average too.
In Southern Africa, which is close to harvest, production expectations are mixed. Expected crop yields are below average in Southern Madagascar and in regions that experienced a major dry spell early in the season, including Southern Mozambique, Southern Malawi, Lesotho, Southern Zimbabwe and Southern Zambia.
In West Africa, the Sahelian countries affected by drought in 2017 are experiencing a deterioration of the food security situation during the lean season. Irregular rainfall is delaying the start of the season across the Gulf of Guinea.
Cereal production is expected to be significantly reduced in Syria and parts of northern Iraq due to failed sowing activities.
As a result of the dry conditions that persist since this winter, the productivity of pastures and rain-fed cereals is clearly reduced in a large region of Central Asia, including Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.