Food harvest in Southern Africa imperilled by dry spell, UN reports

Food harvest in Southern Africa imperilled by dry spell, UN reports

A lack of recent rain across Southern Africa has delayed the planting of crops in four countries and is expected to reduce the yields of those already planted, according to United Nations agencies working in the region.

The UN's Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Support Office said today that the poor rainfall has postponed planting in Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland.

UN agencies say the situation in Lesotho is particularly disturbing, given the current 30-day forecast for dry conditions there. Lesotho's farmers are already suffering because of insufficient rain last summer and subsequent problems.

The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) expects to feed some 245,000 people, or roughly a quarter of Swaziland's population, by next month. Neighbouring South Africa has also been hard-hit, with the poor rainfall reducing yields of non-irrigated crops in its west and northeast.