No.4  July 2007  
   Crop Prospects and Food Situation

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Food Emergencies Update

Global cereal production brief

Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries food situation overview

Regional reviews


Food Emergencies Update

FAO’s latest assessments indicate that serious food difficulties still persist in 28 countries worldwide.

In Western and Central Africa, in spite of an overall good food supply situation, serious localized food insecurity continues to be reported in several countries, notably in Mauritania due to the lingering effects of several years of drought, and in Chad as a result of civil strife. In the Central African Republic, persistent unrest continues to compromise the food situation of thousands of people and nearly 200 000 people are in need of urgent food assistance. In Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone large numbers of IDPs and refugees continue to require emergency food aid as a result of civil conflicts.

In Eastern Africa, notwithstanding the general improvements in food availability in major producing countries, millions of people still face serious food difficulties. The situation in southern Somalia is of particular concern due to the impact of the ongoing violence, mainly in the capital Mogadishu where hundreds of thousands of people are displaced and trade and economic activity are restricted. Prices of food and other essentials have increased drastically affecting many households, especially in urban areas. Recent nutrition assessments in South and Central Somalia indicate a continuing critical situation with Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) levels above the emergency threshold of 15 percent.In Eritrea, high food prices continue to impact on the wellbeing of a large number of vulnerable people. In Ethiopia, an estimated 7.3 million chronically food insecure people need cash or food assistance through the Productive Safety Net Program and a further 1.3 million people, mainly in the pastoralist areas of the Somali Region, require emergency food assistance for the rest of the year. In Kenya, a large number of people, particularly in pastoral areas, continue to receive food assistance due to drought or floods. In Sudan, conflict remains a major factor in inhibiting access to food, particularly in the troubled Darfur region. In Uganda, effects of conflict and earlier poor seasonal rains, mainly in northern parts of the country, continue to negatively affect the food security of thousands of people. Peace negotiations between the Government of Uganda and Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) resumed in April, improving northern Uganda’s still unpredictable civil security situation. About 1.4 million people remain displaced in camps where humanitarian conditions are poor, and where moderate to high levels of food insecurity prevail. About 500 000 drought-affected persons in Karamoja Region also continue to receive food aid.

In Southern Africa, prolonged dry spells and erratic rainfall in Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho, have resulted in one of their worst harvests of the main season crops. The 2007 production of the main staple crop, maize, in these countries, is estimated to decline by about 44 percent in Zimbabwe, 51 percent in Lesotho and 60 percent in Swaziland, compared to 2006. Lower food production and rising domestic and regional prices are expected to adversely affect food security of up to 4.1 million, 401 200, and 407 000 vulnerable people in these 3 countries, respectively (FAO/WFP CFSAM results). In the Great Lakes region, civil strife in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to affect a large number of people who need food assistance. Food aid is also needed in Burundi following the reduced 2006 aggregate foodcrops output, combined with resettlement of returnees and IDPs.

In Far East Asia, in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the food supply outlook remains precarious. However, on a positive note, it is reported that the first shipment of a 400 000 tonnes pledge of rice food aid from the Republic of Korea has been sent in late June. A total of 42 out of the 75 districts in Nepal are estimated to be food deficit and chronic and widespread food insecurity prevails in the Far-Western and Mid-Western mountain regions where food assistance to those vulnerable populations remains limited. Production of the major crops in Timor-Leste has been severely affected by unfavourable weather and more than 200 000 vulnerable rural people require emergency food assistance. The food security of a large number of people in Sri Lanka continues to be affected by the conflict and in addition, some 50 000 people in south-western area were made homeless by the flooding in the May. A number of countries have been affected by floods, and emergency aid, including food, is needed in the affected areas.

In the Near East, in Iraq, the overall food security situation continues to be adversely affected by conflict and security problems. According to humanitarian agencies, there are more than 1.8 million internally displaced people and over 2 million have fled the country.

In South America, humanitarian assistance has been provided to the most vulnerable rural families in Bolivia that were affected by serious crop and livestock losses following drought and floods during the 2007 main cropping season.

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GIEWS   global information and early warning system on food and agriculture