According to a new report from FEWS Net , poor households in several regions of Southern Africa have exhausted their own produced foods earlier than usual in the season due to below-average harvests. The number of households in the region experiencing IPC Crisis (Phase 3) food insecurity is expected to increase with the start of the lean season in September and October.
Maize plays a vital role in food security in Africa south of the Sahara, providing an estimated 40-50 percent of the calories consumed by poor populations.  However, the crop is also very susceptible to climate-driven shocks, particularly variable rainfall and drought. While drought-tolerant maize varieties have become more widely available in recent years, the adoption of these new varieties depends on farmers’ perceptions of the crop’s benefits – and their willingness to pay for those benefits.
A new Southern Africa regional alert from FEWS Net has forecast crop damage due to recent heavy rains and an outbreak of fall Armyworm.
December saw consistent severe rains in several parts of the region. This heavy rainfall has leached nutrients from the soil and prevented households from working on their farms. FEWS Net reports that both of these factors may adversely affect crop yields.