FAO/GIEWS: Africa Report No.1 - May 2003 p.3
More food aid pledges and accelerated deliveries are urgently needed in Eritrea and Ethiopia to avert a worsening of the food situation.
In Tanzania, drier than normal conditions in most areas threaten the country’s food security.
In northern Somalia (Somaliland and Puntland) serious water and pasture shortages are reported.
Over the whole sub-region, the onset of the 2003 first rainy season has been late by more than three weeks over key agricultural areas.
Serious food shortages have emerged in several countries of the sub-region mainly due to drought and civil strife, and emergency food assistance is needed for large numbers of people. Emergency provision of agricultural inputs is also needed to enable affected farmers to resume agricultural production.
In the west of the Sahel, drought-reduced cereal harvests in 2002 in Cape Verde, The Gambia, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal have led to serious food shortages for an estimated 600 000 people.
In Mauritania, the worst-hit country following three consecutive years of drought an estimated 420 000 people need emergency food assistance.
In Côte d’Ivoire, at least one million people have been internally displaced by the on-going civil war while another 200 000, mostly migrant workers, have returned to their countries of origin.
In Liberia, thousands of people have crossed into Sierra Leone and Guinea due to a resurgence of civil strife.
In Central African Republic and Republic of Congo, civil strife has displaced thousands of people but humanitarian assistance is hampered by insecurity.
The escalation of the civil conflict in eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the past month has disrupted agricultural production and hampered distribution of food aid to large numbers of vulnerable people.
In Burundi, late and insufficient rains since the beginning of the 2003 second season have adversely affected harvest prospects.
While overall harvest prospects in the sub-region are generally better than last year, another poor harvest is anticipated in Zimbabwe, as well as in southern Mozambique and parts of Swaziland.
Prices of maize, the main staple, have started to decline in several countries of the sub-region.
Increased food aid distributions since the beginning of the year have improved the food supply situation in the sub-region.
Joint FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Missions are currently underway in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and one is planned for Angola in mid May.