Botswana’s cereal production to decrease by 82 percent in 2019 due to drought

Doom and gloom
Doom and gloom

Cereal production in Botswana is estimated at an extremely low level of 8,000 tonnes in 2019, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a statement.

Cereal production in the southern African country is expected to register about 82 percent lower than the previous five-year average, said the statement issued on Sunday.

“The 2019 summer cereal crops (maize, millet and sorghum) were harvested by June this year while the winter wheat crop is expected to be harvested in Oct. Overall, cereal production is estimated at an extremely low level of 8,000 tonnes,” said FAO in a statement.

The principal factor for the significant decrease is the severe seasonal rainfall deficits that adversely affected the harvested area and yields of the 2019 summer crops, which account for the bulk of the national cereal output.

“The dry conditions had a negative impact on the livestock sector and caused a significant decrease in the availability and quality of grasslands, causing a worsening on livestock body conditions and increasing mortality rates,” FAO said.

Botswana is a net importer of cereals with more than 90 percent of the domestic cereal requirements normally satisfied by imports.

At least 30,000 people were last year left vulnerable to the impacts of climate change-induced drought that affected the southern African country between 2014 and 2017 and the number is expected to increase this year, said Lawrence Ookeditse, a local economist and lecturer at the University of Botswana. Enditem

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