SADC climate experts meet for 2021/22 season forecast

Source: SADC climate experts meet for 2021/22 season forecast | The Herald

SADC climate experts meet for 2021/22 season forecast

Sifelani Tsiko-Agric, Environment & Innovations Editor

Regional climate experts drawn from all 16 SADC member states are expected to hold a virtual meeting from August 16-31 to generate and develop a consensus outlook for the coming rainy season within the region.

Mr Benjamin Kwenda, an agricultural meteorologist at Meteorological Services Department last Friday said the 25th Southern African Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF-25) would be held to disseminate the seasonal rainfall and temperature forecast for the 2021 – 2022 cropping season.

Climate and weather experts will also review the previous rainfall season and forecast the nature of the upcoming season across the region.

“Experts will be meeting between August 16 and August 31. All the proceedings will be virtual due to the pandemic,” he said.

“We are meeting to try and come up with a seasonal outlook that should help all the climate sensitive sectors of the economy here in Zimbabwe and the entire SADC region. We hope to come up with an outlook that should forecast the risks and help our climate users to plan well ahead of the 2021 – 2022 season.”

The climate experts meeting will be held virtually from August 16 – 27, followed by a climate users’ platform forum from August 30-31 and the SARCOF – 25 products dissemination will be made on August 31 virtually.

The Sadc climate and weather experts were also expected to rigorously analyse climate data and come up with a seasonal forecast for the coming cropping season.

After analysing climate data, weather experts will then draw up a seasonal forecast which is expected to be issued by the Sadc Climate Services Centre at the forthcoming main SARCOF virtual meeting.

Last year, regional experts  were on point when the consensus forecast produced by the 24th Southern African Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF 24) correctly predicted that the bulk of Southern Africa would receive adequate rainfall throughout the 2020 -2021 growing season.

This brought cheer to the region which experienced less rainfall in the 2019-2020 season resulting in adverse impacts on agriculture, water resources and hydro-power generation in most parts of the region.

The 2020-2021 outlook produced by regional climate experts forecasted that there would be “normal to-above-normal” rainfall across most of the SADC region between October 2020 and March 2021.

Zimbabwe and several countries in the region got a good harvest during the 2020/21 agricultural season with the exception of parts of Angola and Madagascar.

The country is expecting 1,8 million tonnes of maize and 200 000 tonnes of traditional grains, raking in a total of 2 million tonnes of grains  the highest bumper harvest in two decades, according to the Grain Marketing Board.