FAO/GIEWS - Food Outlook No.1 - February 2002 p. 3

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While overall food supply prospects for 2002 are more favourable than in the past two years, million of people in developing countries still need emergency food assistance due to natural and man-made disasters.

In eastern Africa, notwithstanding the satisfactory overall cereal harvest in 2001, food supply difficulties persist in parts due to poor rains in recent years and/or civil strife. In Somalia, despite improved prospects of the secondary "deyr" season crops, more than 500 000 people face severe food difficulties mainly due to poor 2001 main season crops. Slow recovery from successive droughts and long-term effects of insecurity, coupled with the reduced foreign exchange earnings due to the continuing ban by countries along the Arabian Peninsula on livestock imports from eastern Africa on account of Rift Valley Fever, have undermined households' ability to withstand shocks. In Tanzania, despite an overall stable food supply situation, reports indicate that nearly 120 000 people in some 10 districts need food assistance. Sharp increase in food prices have been observed in parts due to increased demand for cereals in neighbouring Zambia, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which face food deficits. In Eritrea, despite some improvement in cereal production, an estimated 1.3 million people, including war displaced, returnee refugees from Sudan and drought victims, will depend on emergency food assistance through 2002. In Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda, the overall food supply situation has improved considerably in 2002, compared to the previous two years. However, the sharp decline in cereal prices has resulted in severe financial difficulties for farmers and may negatively impact on area planted next season. In addition, 5.2 million vulnerable people in Ethiopia, 1.5 million in Kenya, 2 million in Sudan and 300 000 in Uganda, need food assistance. In western Africa, the food supply situation should improve in Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger following significally better harvests compared to the previous year. Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea continue to require international food assistance due to past or ongoing civil strife. In central Africa, the food situation of some 2.5 million internally displaced people in the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to be of serious concern. Access to the affected population, particularly in the east, remains difficult due to insecurity. In Burundi, despite satisfactory food production during the first season of 2002, significant numbers of vulnerable people need food assistance. In southern Africa, emergency food assistance is needed in parts of Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia, following a reduced 2001 maize harvest. Prices of maize have risen sharply throughout the subregion. In Angola, food assistance continues to be needed for over one million people displaced by the persistent civil war.

In Asia, DPR Korea will still need international food assistance through 2002, despite an improvement in food production in 2001. In Mongolia, food assistance continues to be provided as a consequence of recent severe winters that killed large numbers of livestock, leaving nomadic herders highly food insecure. Elsewhere, food assistance from national governments and the international community is still being provided to the victims of floods in 2000 in Viet Nam and Cambodia, as well as to drought victims, internally displaced people and refugees in Sri Lanka and Pakistan. In central Asia, drought, water shortages and continuing economic decline have adversely affected the food security of some three million people in the CIS countries, of whom 2 million need food assistance. The worst affected countries are Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

In the Near East, the food situation in Afghanistan remains grave notwithstanding the improved delivery of food assistance. Years of insecurity and war coupled with three successive years of severe drought have exposed large numbers of people to extreme hardship. In Iraq recent successive years of drought coupled with economic sanctions have left large sections of the population in need of assistance. The food situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip also gives cause for serious concern. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the food supply situation remains tight in several drought affected parts of El Salvador, and localized areas of Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala, despite the generally good outturns of the 2001/02 second season crops. In Europe refugees, IDPs and vulnerable groups in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and in Chechnya in the Russian Federation continue to require emergency food assistance.


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