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U.N. Concerned about El Nino Conditions in Southern Africa.

United Nations, Jumada I 1, 1437, Feb 10, 2016, SPA -- The World Food Program (WFP) said Wednesday that El Nino conditions have caused the lowest recorded rainfall between October and December across many regions of southern Africa in at least 35 years.

WFP said in its latest report that short-term forecasts from January to March indicate the high probability of continuing below-normal rainfall in the south, signaling that this could become one of the worst droughts on record.

"The current growing season, which spans from October 2015 to April 2016, is developing under the peak of the El Nino, with the first phase of the growing season characterized by severe and widespread rainfall deficits," the situation report said. "El Nino's impact on rain-fed agriculture is severe. Poor rainfall combined with excessive temperatures creates conditions not conducive for crop growth."

Rain-dependent small holder farmers, which make up at least 50 percent of the population of southern Africa, are the hardest hit, according to the report.

WFP said that the climate outlook is particularly concerning as it is coming on top of a poor harvest in 2014 and 2015.

"Poor regional cereal harvests from the 2014-2015 season have tightened cereal supplies. On average, harvests were 21 percent lower than the 2013-2014 season and 3 percent lower than the five-year average. In total, the cereal deficit for the region is 7.9 million tons for the 2015/2016 marketing year," WFP said.

--SPA

18:12 LOCAL TIME 15:12 GMT

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Publication:Saudi Press Agency (SPA)
Date:Feb 10, 2016
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