About 14 million people in Southern Africa face hunger this year after experiencing low rainfalls which caused poor harvests in 2015, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has said.
“With little or no rain falling in many areas and the window for the planting of cereals closing fast or already closed in some countries, the outlook is alarming,” the number of people without enough food could rise significantly over coming months as the region moves deeper into the so-called lean season,” WFP.said in a statement
Countries on the red line include Malawi with a prevalence of 2.8 million people (16 percent) who are feared would be affected by hunger, followed by Madagascar where almost 1.9 million people are at risk.
With little or no rain falling in many areas and the window for the planting of cereals closing fast or already closed in some countries, the outlook is alarming
“One particularly worrying symptom of southern Africa’s vulnerability to food and nutrition security is the alarming rate of chronic malnutrition. Levels of stunting among children in Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia are among the worst in the world,” WFP said.
South Africa is now facing its worst drought season since 1904 which has adversely affected its maize production. The government could be forced to import 6 million tonnes of maize which is almost a half of the country’s demand.
The December white maize contract in South Africa was 0.6 percent higher at 250 US dollars a tonne after scaling a peak of 255 dollars, according to Thomson Reuters data.