Nov 10, 2015

South African drought follows third-driest season in 80 years

Johannesburg
South Africa
by
Ed Stoddard
,
Reuters
Livestock drink from a drying river outside Utrecht, a small town in the northwest of KwaZulu-Natal, November 8, 2015. REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO
Livestock drink from a drying river outside Utrecht, a small town in the northwest of KwaZulu-Natal, November 8, 2015. REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO

The sugar-growing South African province of KwaZulu Natal is the driest it has been in over a century, according to data provided on Tuesday by the South African Weather Service, underscoring the scale of a drought scorching Africa's most advanced economy. The drought, seen worsening due to an El Nino weather pattern, threatens South Africa's diverse farm sector including its key maize crop, which may fuel food prices and inflation at a time when the central bank is in a tightening cycle. For South Africa as a whole, the low rainfall and rolling heatwaves that have marked the start of this summer come on the heels of 2014-15, which was the driest season since 1991-92.