FAO GIEWS Country Brief on Botswana (14-July-2016)

| July 19, 2016

Reference Date: 14-July-2016


  1. Cereal production in 2016 declined for second consecutive year on account of El Niño‑induced drought conditions

  2. Food prices rise moderately in 2016 with appreciation of Pula against South African Rand lessening imported inflation

  3. Drought in 2016 causes increase in number of food insecure

Drought conditions result in second consecutive below‑average cereal output in 2016

Harvesting of the 2016 cereal crop concluded in June. El Niño‑related drought conditions affected the entire 2015/16 summer cropping season (November‑June), which was characterized by a late onset of seasonal rains, below‑average precipitation and higher‑than‑normal temperatures. Although rainfall improved in February and March 2016, it could not reverse the damage caused by the prolonged dryness in the preceding months. As a result, 2016 cereal production is estimated at a well below‑average level of about 5 300 tonnes, 37 percent lower than the already drought‑reduced 2015 harvest.

Pastures and water availability for animals were also adversely affected by the prolonged and severe dryness, with livestock mortality averaging about 20 percent in 2015 and 2016. However, the improved rains in the first quarter of 2016 aided pasture re‑growth in some areas and replenished water resources, including the Gaborone Dam, which supplies the capital and had run dry in 2015.

Food prices increase, but at moderate rate

Despite sharp food price increases in South Africa, the country’s main trading partner, only moderate cereal price increases were registered in Botswana, with the Bread and Cereals sub‑index of the national CPI rising by 2 percent in May 2016 on a yearly basis. The appreciation of the Botswana Pula against the South African Rand has been a contributing factor, lessening imported inflation and restricting the transmission of the record high maize prices in South Africa to the domestic market.

Drought worsens food security in 2016

The impact of the drought has resulted in an increased level of food insecurity. According to the Botswana Vulnerability Assessment Committee’s 2016 evaluation, an estimated 57 411 persons are food insecure in 2016/17, nearly double the level of the previous year. The Government is planning to assist the entire food insecure population.

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