Total rainfall for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region for the latest crop season, from October 2018 to March 2019, was the lowest in 38 years, local media reported on Monday, June 3, 2019.
According to a statement read at a meeting of SADC ministers responsible for agriculture, food security and fisheries and aquaculture, in Windhoek, Namibia, rainfall analysis indicates that total rainfall for this period may have been the lowest since 1981.
“Most especially in parts of Angola, Western Botswana, Comoros, Northern Namibia, Western and Central South Africa, Lesotho, Western Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“The low rainfall was associated with a delayed erratic onset that resulted in reduced planted area, poor germination and crop establishment.
“As well as an extended dry spell in January 2019 that led to moisture stress and permanent wilting,’’ the statement said.
Low rainfall has also negatively impacted pasture and livestock, as well as water supply for human, agricultural and other uses, which have all deteriorated in Western parts of the region.
Three SADC countries had to declare a state of drought disaster due to the low rainfall.
Rain is liquid water in the form of droplets that have condensed from atmospheric water vapour and then become heavy enough to fall under gravity.
It is a major component of the water cycle and is responsible for depositing most of the fresh water on the Earth.