Extreme weather, COVID-19, and insufficient food availability are creating a fragile situation for the 300M people in West Africa
In response to the coronavirus, “Africa must prepare for the worst“, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned from the outset. Regional organizations such as West African Health Organization (WHAHO) are leading the efforts to minimize spread. Ghana and Nigeria are experiencing some of the worst outbreaks across Africa. One of the hopes for epidemiologists is that this region has a relatively young population which may keep the death rate lower but this region has additional challenges of conflict-related displacement and malnutrition that could hinder efforts to fight COVID-19.
aWHERE CREATES 45,000 VIRTUAL WEATHER STATIONS IN WEST AFRICA
Must of West Africa is in the midst of the growing season and since much of the region relies on rainfed agriculture, any deviation from normal could impact crop productivity. The map below shows that much of the central region of West Africa is much drier than normal – currently in the Warning stage. Farmers must be alerted of this forecast in order to plan for augmentative irrigation. The map on below, right shows the trends for the past 30 days. Much of the region has been drier than normal and along the coast has been quite wet.
In response to the challenges posed by COVID-19, the African Development Bank has created a new program to help ensure food security. “Feed Africa Response to COVID-19 (FAREC) paves the way for a comprehensive intervention to build resilience, sustainability and regional self-sufficiency in Africa’s food systems and help farmers cope with coronavirus-related disruptions to the agricultural value chain” (AfDB). The persistence of insecurity and armed conflict could undermine efforts and continue to worsen food security conditions particularly in the Sahel region (FEWS NET). The continual monitoring of the current growing season is essential to ensure farmers have productive crops for both economic and nutritional security in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.
How many people are impacted by drier or wetter than normal conditions? aWhere’s weather dataset can be easily combined with other critical data such as population. We are able to determine how many people are impacted by certain weather conditions.
Rainfall variability impacts cropping systems, watershed management, and market pricing. Farmers need daily access to accurate weather insights to adapt to climate change. More than 10,500,000 people will experience drier than normal conditions next week, many of them are likely farmers.
FOOD SECURITY TRACKER: GLOBAL UPDATE
As part of the COVID, CLIMATE and FOOD series, we will provide an updated Global Food Security Tracker which shows the forecast of precipitation over potential evapotranspiration (P/PET) across aWhere’s 1.9 million virtual weather stations.
aWhere’s localized, daily weather data can help governments get ahead of weather events by looking at historical trends coupled with weather forecasts. African farmers need in-time weather-based insights to make informed crop management decisions to increase productivity, profitability and resilience. Fortunately, the tools and partnerships now exist to address this knowledge gap – today.
Please contact us for more information on partnering to build a brighter future for farmers in Africa.