This week the World Meteorological Organization awarded tropical cyclone Freddy, with its "incredible and dangerous journey" that has been zigzagging between Madagascar and Mozambique for weeks now, the record for the longest-lasting tropical storm on record.
Flood water rushing through a banana plantation in Boane, Mozambique, during Freddy's first passing over Mozambique
Freddy was first seen near Australia and named on 6 February. It then crossed the entire Indian Ocean in a track that, the WMO says, is very rare.
During Freddy's first turn over Mozambique late in February it dropped 300mm to 900mm of rain in just 24 hours.
Acute vegetable & grain shortage ahead
It is still raining in Mozambique. A fruit farmer in Inhambane tells FreshPlaza they have had almost 800mm over the past two weeks.
The provinces of Sofala and Zambezia have had even more rain and the situation is dire. Fortunately westwards, Manica Province, where the avocado harvest is continuing, is on higher land and less affected.
"Most subsistence and vegetable farms are on the floodplains and this is an enormous headache - everything in the fields has drowned. We’re looking at an enormous shortage of fresh vegetables within the next few months."
Maize (corn) fields across the country have drowned. It rings alarm bells for the food security of the country which is still recovering from Cyclone Idai in 2019.
The death toll stands at 117, including at least three incidents of farmers going to harvest their maize getting caught by crocodiles.
The government of Mozambique estimates that 272,000 people have been affected but the WMO quotes the country's national disaster management agency as saying that 1.75 million people have been impacted.
Sugarcane fields in Maragra; this photo was taken at the end of February 2023