Special Report: Dry conditions for 2019-2020 season expected to continue across portions of Southern Africa (Updated January 17, 2020)


The 2019-20 main season in Southern Africa started with a timely onset of the rains followed by erratic and below-average rainfall from mid-October to mid-December in the central and southern parts of the region.

Persistent drier than normal conditions across parts of southeastern Angola, northeastern Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, southwest Zambia, eastern Zimbabwe, southern Mozambique, Namibia, southern Madagascar and parts of South Africa (Figure 1) have affected crop establishment and growth.

In some areas, extended dry spells with high temperatures have resulted in permanent crop wilting and replanting will be necessary.

Reservoir and water levels are low across the drought-affected areas causing further concern for crop production.

Short term forecasts indicate that northern areas along with parts of central Zambia, northern Zimbabwe, and central Mozambique are likely to receive above-average rainfall in mid-January.

However, following this, the longer-term outlook is for overall drier than average conditions to continue across the drought-affected central and south and forecasts show the increased chance of below-normal rainfall from February to March.