Climate advisory for the 2012 winter season

Near normal rainfall was experienced in most parts of the country during March. In April rainfall decreased in many areas resulting in below normal over the central and eastern half of the country but near normal in the west areas.

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Generally, most areas are experiencing dry conditions due to insufficient rainfall during summer season. Veld and livestock are in reasonable condition but poor in some areas which are experiencing dry conditions. The level of dams is above 80% in most provinces except in KwaZulu- Natal and Limpopo where they are around 70%.

The Famine Early Warning System Network report states that the monitoring and assessment reports indicate a general improvement in food security across most of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region coinciding with the end of the lean season (March/April). Food supplies have improved as seasonal crops and early maize harvests become increasingly available on farms and in local markets.

Food security has been particularly enhanced in areas where crop production benefited from favorable rainfall performance, and where minimal exposure to production shocks was experienced. Increased on-farm food availability has eased pressure on local market supplies, in turn easing the pressure on prices. By April, staple food prices in most markets had stabilised and had started decreasing.

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Rainfall is anticipated to be climatology in winter rainfall areas during mid-winter meaning normal rainfall conditions are expected. In this situation, farmers are advised to plan their activities in accordance with what usually occur in their areas at that time in the season. Both minimum and maximum temperatures are expected to lean towards climatology.

Most areas are experiencing dry conditions where farmers are advised to keep the number of stock to suit the available grazing and provide licks to give livestock sufficient nutrition. Veld fires might be experienced especially in the summer rainfall areas where precautionary measures such as firebreaks and others must be in place as indicated in the National Veld and Forest Fire Act (Act No. 101 of 1998). Precautionary measures should also be in place for cold spells, frost and snowfalls. Furthermore, contingency plans should be in place for localized flooding especially in the winter rainfall areas.

The Disaster Management Act (Act No 57 of 2002) urges provinces, individuals and farmers, to assess and prevent or reduce the risk of disasters using early warning information.

Enquiries: Mr Steve Galane (012) 319 7312 or 083 635 7346