Southern Africa drought: Impacts on maize production

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BY JOSEPH GLAUBER AND WESTON ANDERSON
OPEN ACCESS | CC-BY-4.0

Parts of Southern Africa have been experiencing a severe drought since late 2023, fueled in large part by the ongoing El Niño Southern Oscillation. Falling harvests have led to disaster declarations in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe and affected countries across the region. In particular, maize yields have fallen sharply, threatening food security for millions of households depending on this key staple for a significant share of total calories consumed on a daily basis (Figure 1).

There are some positive signs, however: This post explores factors that may mitigate the drought’s food security impacts going forward, including large stocks following above trend harvests in the two previous years, and prospects for more favorable weather in the upcoming crop year.

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