No.1  February 2007  
   Crop Prospects and Food Situation

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Countries in Crisis requiring External

Food Emergencies Update

Global cereal production brief

Low-Income Food-Deficit Country food situation overview

Regional reviews

Terminology and Notes

Food Emergencies Update

Despite record or bumper 2006 cereal crops in several regions of the world, including most countries of Africa, and Asia, FAO’s latest assessment indicates that food emergencies persist in 34 countries worldwide. In 18 of the cases, the food crisis is wholly or partially a result of current or recent civil strife or conflict, while in the remainder, the impact of adverse weather on one or more of the most recent foodcrop production seasons, is the main cause.

In Western and Central Africa, in Chad, the deteriorating security situation and increasing population displacement could compromise the berebere (off-season millet) crop and are seriously hampering access to the Sudanese refugees. In Mauritania and Niger, localized populations, already suffering the compounded effects of reduced production in recent years, have yet again had poor harvests, because of adverse weather, and their food security situation will remain precarious. Emergency food assistance continues to be needed in Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic for large numbers of IDPs and refugees as a result of civil conflicts.

In Eastern Africa, the effects of floods, the current outbreak of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) that affects both livestock and humans, localized drought, and past or ongoing conflicts, continue to undermine the food security of a large number of people. In Somalia, conditions in pastoral and agro-pastoral districts of the Lower Juba region, especially in Afmadow and Badhadhe districts, are particularly alarming due to floods in late 2006. Current estimates put the number of affected people at more than 450 000. Following a reduced main gu harvest in August, it was estimated that at least 1.8 million people will face food difficulties. In Eritrea, a large number of people rendered vulnerable by the effects of past conflicts and drought still require assistance. In Ethiopia, despite a good harvest, the Food Security Bureau (FSB) tentatively estimates that about 7.3 million chronically food insecure people need cash or food assistance through the Productive Safety Net Program and a further 2.3 million people require emergency food assistance. In Kenya, exceptionally heavy rains and floods that devastated parts of the country, have been followed by a recent outbreak of RVF, exacerbating the already extreme levels of food insecurity in pastoral areas. In Sudan, more than 4 million people, mostly in southern and western regions, continue to depend on emergency food assistance, mainly as a result of conflict. In the United Republic of Tanzania, heavy rains and floods in parts have affected hundreds of households. In Uganda, conflict coupled with a poor cropping season continues to affect the food security of a large number of people in the Karamoja region.

In Southern Africa, the next few weeks until the start of the next harvest in April will be particularly critical for vulnerable populations in several countries due to exhaustion of stocks and rising food prices. In Zimbabwe, the economic crisis continues to deepen with an estimated 1.4 million rural people unable to meet their minimum cereal needs during the 2006/07 season. In Lesotho and Swaziland, poor cereal harvests again in 2006 preclude an improvement in the food security of these countries. In Angola, despite economic growth and increased oil revenues, localized food insecurity persists for an estimated 800 000 vulnerable people. In Madagascar, the food security situation has worsened in southern parts because of drought last season and continuing dry weather this season. In the Great Lakes region, the continuing civil strife in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has affected large numbers of people who need food assistance. Food aid is also needed in Burundi following the reduced 2006 total food crops harvest, combined with resettlement of returnees and IDPs.

In Far East Asia, serious food security problems persist in Sri Lanka, as a result of political instability in the northeast districts and abnormal monsoon rains in the central, southern and eastern districts. In Timor-Leste, the food supply situation remains critical for some 100 000 displaced people who are still unable to return to their homes. A tight food supply situation has been reported in Nepal, especially in the districts seriously affected by droughts and floods last year. In the Philippines, some 100 000 people in the Bicol region, devastated by four successive typhoons, still need food aid. The food supply situation for millions of people in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remains a serious concern as a result of the sharp reduction of food aid. In the Near East, in Iraq, conflict and insecurity continues to affect the lives of large number of people triggering the displacement of hundreds of thousands people. In the Asian CIS, large numbers of people in Armenia have been rendered food insecure as a result of drought-reduced harvests last year. In Central America, assistance continues to be required in Haiti, due to long-term problems of insecurity and economic crisis.

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