EU Science Hub

Drought worsens conflict-driven food security crisis in Yemen. Below-average summer crop production in Iraq and parts of central Asia

ASAP hotspot assessment of 08.11.2018
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Nov 09 2018

The October edition of the JRC's Anomaly Hotspots of Agricultural Production (ASAP) assessment shows evidence of drought in western Yemen, which adds pressure to the already dire food security situation caused by conflict and food import blockage. Irrigation deficits and drought have also affected production in Iraq and in parts of Central Asia. In the dry corridor region in Central America, the second crop season is progressing well, whereas first-season production by small-scale farmers was affected by drought. In East, West and Central Africa, crop conditions are generally good, with the exception of flood- and conflict-hit areas in Nigeria and conflict areas in South Sudan.

Main findings of the October global overview:

  • The main crop-producing areas in western Yemen had received only between one third and half of the average cumulative rainfall by mid-season. Food supply in Yemen largely depends on imports, but drought conditions add pressure to the ongoing food security crisis (see also the Special Focus*).
  • Several countries in Central and South Asia are expecting a reduced production of summer crops (including cotton) due to irrigation deficit and drought. The main countries affected are Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
  • In Central America and the Caribbean, crop conditions for the second season have generally improved after an initial delay in the start of the season. These areas experienced exceptional rainfall in early October, leading to floods in several areas of El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
  • In South East Asia, conditions are favourable for the main-season rice, with the harvest just starting, except for localised storm damage in the Philippines and Laos.
  • Above-average crop and rangeland conditions prevail in East, West and Central Africa, although seasonal rainfall forecasts indicate slightly below- average rainfall for the bi-seasonal cropping areas of East Africa. Riverine areas in Nigeria have been damaged by the September floods.
  • Planting and the early vegetative stages of summer crops are ongoing across Southern Africa under close-to-average weather conditions.

* Special Focus: October 2018 - Water scarcity in Iraq and Pakistan and drought effects in Yemen

Several countries in the Middle East and South Asia are expecting a reduced production of summer crops (including cotton) due to irrigation water deficits and drought. The October 2018 Special Focus shows maps for key areas in Iraq and Pakistan where the low summer crop area and performance is particularly striking.

In Yemen, the effects of the prolonged conflict and port blockage on food security are worsened by drought. The main crop-producing areas in western Yemen had received only between one third and half of the average cumulative rainfall by mid-season. Food supply in Yemen largely depends on imports, but drought conditions add pressure to the ongoing food security crisis. Some high resolution evidence about drought in Yemen is shown in the October 2018 special focus.

The next assessment is scheduled for the end of November 2018.

Further information

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