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The 2023-24 agricultural season concluded with an average harvest despite extremely variable in-season precipitation and above-average temperatures

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Afghanistan
  • June 21, 2024
The 2023-24 agricultural season concluded with an average harvest despite extremely variable in-season precipitation and above-average temperatures

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  • Key Messages
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    Key Messages
    • As of May 31, 2024, cumulative seasonal precipitation (October 1, 2023, to May 31, 2024) in southern portions of Kandahar to Kunar bordering Pakistan received 110-150 percent of the 40-year average while much of the rest of the country received 90-110 percent of average. However, parts of Farah and Herat in the west, Ghor and Bamiyan in the central highlands, Badghis, Jawzjan, Balkh, and Kunduz in the north, and Badakhshan in the northeast received 75-90 percent of average cumulative rainfall. 
    • Below-average snowpack was consistently observed over the higher elevations of the country throughout much of the 2023/24 season, with the snow water volumes in most basins either below-average or close to record minimum levels until March 2024. Average to above-average precipitation from the beginning of March through mid-May 2024 improved snow water volumes in the lower elevations to near average levels from mid-April onwards. 
    • Despite below-average precipitation from the beginning of 2023/24 season through mid-February 2024 that led to below-average planting in the irrigated wheat cultivating areas, and a two-to-three-week delay in the planting of spring wheat due to the average to above-average precipitation in March 2024, field reports indicate that farmers took advantage of favorable rain and soil moisture conditions in late-April to plant above-average spring wheat areas. The above-average planting of wheat was likely influenced by the local authorities continued ban of poppy cultivation. Overall, the total area under wheat during 2023/24 season is expected to be greater than the 2022/23 season due to better soil moisture, access to water for irrigation, and precipitation conditions. 
    • The 2023/24 wheat harvest is expected to be average to above-average because of favorable soil moisture conditions during the flowering and grain filling stages of wheat. Although, the 2023/24 national level wheat harvest is expected to be average to above-average, local variability is expected due to delays in spring wheat planting, cold spots, and damage from floods, pests, and diseases. 
    • Currently, the rangeland vegetative conditions are near- or above-average in most areas due to average to above-average precipitation during the spring months. During summer (July-September 2024), rangeland vegetation is expected to deteriorate to below-average levels due to forecast above-average temperatures. Upper quintile air temperatures during the summer are forecast to be three times more likely than the 1993-2016 historical period (Figure 1). 
    • ENSO-neutral conditions are expected from the May-July 2024 through July-September 2024 period. La Niña is likely to become most probable from August-October 2024 and is expected to continue through January-March 2025 with a 70-80 percent likelihood. As a result, the beginning of the 2024/25 agricultural season is expected to be negatively impacted by below-average precipitation and above-average temperatures.

    Figure 1

    Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) temperature forecast for June through August 2024
    July - Sep temperature forecast showing above average

    Source: Copernicus Climate Change Service

    FEWS NET’s Seasonal Monitor reports are produced for Central America and the Caribbean, West Africa, East Africa, Central Asia, and Somalia every 10-to-30 days during the region’s respective rainy season(s). Seasonal Monitors report updates on weather events (e.g., rainfall patterns) and associated impacts on ground conditions (e.g., cropping conditions, pasture and water availability), as well as the short-term rainfall forecast. Find more remote sensing information here.

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