FAO prepares anticipatory actions to mitigate impact of El Niño on food security


Rome: To mitigate the risk of El Niño, a meteorological event on food security around the globe, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has scrutinised the areas and developed Anticipatory Action (AA) standard procedures, where food security is a major concern.

The report aims to highlight countries where El Niño-induced dry weather conditions could occur and have an adverse impact on cereal production in 2023/24, potentially aggravating local food insecurity.

It also serves to draw attention to countries where there is an increased risk of flooding because of a higher probability of above-average rainfall amounts.

The action plan also focuses on dry weather conditions, the impact of water stress on agricultural production and that a larger area of cropland is affected by rainfall deficits compared to areas expected to receive above-normal precipitation.

In addition, FAO is ready to implement agricultural and livelihood-based interventions, in coordination with governments and humanitarian partners so that the El Niño forecast materialize.

As per the offical statement, FAO has developed the Anticipatory Action protocols for drought in Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, southern Madagascar, Malawi, Zimbabwe, the Philippines, Pakistan, and in Central America.

According to a new report by FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning Systems of the Markets and Trade Division and the Office of Climate Change, Biodiversity and Environment, Southern Africa, Central America and the Caribbean and parts of Asia are of particular concern.

As a number of countries in these regions already face high levels of “acute food insecurity” and key cropping seasons fall under the typical El Niño weather patterns of drier conditions.

“Early warnings mean that we have to take early and anticipatory action, and we will support our Members in these efforts, to the full extent resources allow,” said Rein Paulsen, head of FAO’s Office for Emergencies and Resilience.

“Northern areas of South America are also at risk to potential dryness, while Australia normally experiences suppressed rainfall” it said.

As per FAO the dry weather conditions are expected in key cropping areas of Central America, Southern Africa and Far East Asia, while excessive rainfall and possible flooding are foreseen in Near East Asia and East Africa.

In 2022, the number of people facing acute food insecurity was projected to reach up to 222 million in 53 countries/territories, the highest level on record, according to the latest Hunger Hotspots report.

In the wake of the El Niño episode of 2015 and 2016, which affected more than 60 million people in around 23 countries.

“Forecasts at this point are clear but inevitably can only be put forth with low confidence due to their low power during the May-June-July period,” explained Oscar Rojas, FAO Agrometeorologist.

El Niño events typically occurs every two to seven years, with La Niña episodes and neutral conditions filling the years in-between.

Catalyzed by a warming of Pacific Ocean waters, El Niño has a major influence on temperature and precipitation patterns over many parts of the world, driving extreme weather events including drought, flooding and storms.


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