Food security issues persist across East Africa after consecutive years of poor harvests, according to the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET). The Network points to failed harvests, bore holes drying up and livestock dropping dead — all consequences of the ongoing drought.
In Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Agriculture’s second-round crop production estimates reveal maize production is just 59% of the five-year average. That low supply, coupled with a record-high market demand, explains why prices are headed up atypically for the time of year.
The Ministry is concerned for poor households in particular, warning they’ll face “difficulties accessing market foods” as their own supplies dwindle.
In Kenya, crop production is also significantly below average for the second consecutive season, as plantings, particularly those in the southeast, are moisture-stressed, withering and failing.
According to satellite-derived data, 2019’s March to May rainfall was at least 20% below average across the nation, with regions in west Kenya’s key agricultural zones experiencing much larger deficits — as high as 75% below average in some parts.
Maize prices have increased 52% in Kenya these past few months, driven by the poor rains, reduced supply and high household demand.
Research (Mikhaël Schwander, et al, 2017) reveals low solar activity weakens the jet stream, reverting its usual tight zonal flow (west to east) to a looser, wavier meridional flow (north to south). Solar Minimums can effectively lock weather patterns in place, resulting in regions become unseasonably hot or cold and others unusually dry or rainy for extended periods of time.
With this being a Grand Solar Minimum we’re entering, the effects will likely be further exaggerated.
GSM + Pole Shift