FAO Says Imminent Return of El Niño to Bring Dry Weather to ASEAN

The El Niño oceanographic phenomenon is forecast to return in June, resulting in dry weather across Southeast Asia, the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) says.

In a statement released in Rome Wednesday, the UN agency’s Global Information and Early-Warning System noted that El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) originating in South America was a “key driver of extreme weather events that pose high risks to global food security.”

El Niño is often linked to warmer sea-surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific while La Niña events tend to be associated with colder temperatures.

“The world experienced a third consecutive La Niña event in 2022 and early 2023, a rare occurrence that has happened only twice since 1950,” the early-warning system said.

With the three-year La Niña dissipating in March, “forecasts point to a transition to an El Niño state in the second half of 2023,” it said.

“Countries where the entire crop cycle affected by drier-than-average weather conditions are of particular concern, as water deficits could curtail both plantings and yields with compounding negative impacts on final production.”

The early-warning system said countries “at risk of dry conditions” included Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Recommended actions to be followed in most countries at risk of being affected by dry weather in the 2023-24 season include timely distribution of farming tools, seeds of drought-tolerant crop varieties and feed.

The FAO also recommends provision of animal health support, rehabilitation of water bodies, and support to farmers on water-harvesting techniques and post-harvest management and processing.

Source: Agence Kampuchea Presse