FAO resource on El Niño

| April 25, 2016

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The news, including Barza Wire, has been dominated recently by stories about droughts or flooding in countries across Africa. Farmers and rural communities are struggling to ensure a good harvest despite unpredictable weather.

The cause: the El Niño weather phenomenon. El Niño is a natural warming of the surface temperature of the Pacific Ocean that occurs every two to seven years. During El Niño episodes, normal patterns of precipitation and air currents are disrupted, triggering extreme weather events around the globe.

Agriculture is one of the main sectors affected by El Niño, since harvests depend on predictable patterns of rainfall. Drought, flooding, and changes in seasonal temperatures can also trigger outbreaks of animal disease and plant pests. As last week’s farmer story from Zimbabwe indicated, fish farmers and sellers also face difficult times, with low water levels affecting fisheries.

You can learn more about the El Niño weather phenomenon and how it affects different regions on the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s webpage at: http://www.fao.org/el-nino/en/