|No.5 October 2007|
|Crop Prospects and Food Situation|
Food Emergencies Update
In Western and Central Africa, recent heavy rains and floods have caused considerable human casualties and damage to crops and livestock in several countries, notably in Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania. Although the floods are not expected to have any significant impact on the subregion’s overall food supply, the food security implications could be locally severe in several countries, notably in Ghana, the hardest hit country, where, even before the floods, populations in the north of the country were vulnerable to production or price shocks following a reduced crop in 2006. Similarly, the succession of crop failures that has affected Mauritania in recent years has had severe negative impact on rural households’ purchasing power increasing their vulnerability to shocks.
In Eastern Africa, notwithstanding the general improvements in overall food availability, millions of people face serious food difficulties due to the effects of localized drought conditions and ongoing or past conflicts. The situation in southern Somalia is of particular concern with the impact of the recent well-below average main season “gu” crop coupled with large displacement due to continued civil insecurity rendering an estimated 1.5 million people require humanitarian assistance. Of these nearly one-fifth are classified as Humanitarian Emergency (HE) requiring life saving interventions while a third are in Acute Food and Livelihood Crisis (AFLC) requiring livelihood support.
In Southern Africa, severe droughts, floods and/or economic constraints have led to sharp reduction in the 2007 harvests of maize, the main staple crop, in Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and Lesotho. Lower food production and rising domestic and regional prices are expected to adversely affect food security of up to 6.6 million people, more than double the number in the previous year (source: VAC reports and FAO/WFP CFSAM assessments).
In the Great Lakes region, renewed security problems in recent months in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are affecting a large number of people especially in the north-east areas. Food aid is needed in Burundi for continuing resettlement of returnees and IDPs.
In Far East Asia, the risk of food insecurity has heightened for large numbers of people throughout the region following torrential rains, causing severe flooding and landslides, throughout the summer in several countries.
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 Central America and the Caribbean, the passage of powerful hurricanes has caused severe losses of food and cash crops. Crops like bananas, tubers, cocoa, coffee and vegetables have been severely affected by strong winds and heavy rains of hurricane Dean in Saint Lucia, Martinique, Dominica and Jamaica, with expected reduced availability in the coming months, most likely accompanied by rising prices in local markets. At the beginning of September, category 5 hurricane Felix severely hit the north-east Atlantic coast of Nicaragua with significant damage to second season maize and paddy crops, but also fruit trees such as banana, coconut and mango. It is reported that more than 32 000 families, mainly indigenous groups, are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance to recover their basic livelihood systems.
In South America, prolonged dry weather conditions, high temperatures and strong winds meant that the traditional practice of burning pasture and grassland led to the most severe fire of Paraguay’s history. About one million hectares of forest, pasture and cropland in north-eastern and western regions have been destroyed and approximately 100 000 people have been affected. In Peru, the international community is providing food assistance to the population of departments of Ica, Huancavelica and Ayacucho whose livelihood systems were severely affected by an earthquake on 15 August.
|GIEWS||global information and early warning system on food and agriculture|