No.5  October 2007  
   Crop Prospects and Food Situation

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Food Emergencies Update

Global cereal supply and demand brief

Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries food situation overview

Regional reviews

Statistical Appendix


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 Eritrea, high food prices continue to affect large numbers of vulnerable people.
In Ethiopia,according to a recent UN Interagency Mission nearly 600 000 people in the Somali region are in need of emergency food aid over the next three months. The Mission warned that humanitarian conditions have substantially deteriorated in conflict areas where the military and rebel groups have been clashing. The report also notes an acute shortage of medical supplies and serious concerns regarding security. The mission fears that the situation could rapidly worsen within two or three months unless more food gets to the population. In addition, the findings of the “belg” season assessment indicated an estimated 830 000 people in Afar, Amhara, Oromiya and SNNP regions will require emergency food assistance through to the end of the year. Earlier in the year the Food Security Bureau (FSB) estimated that about 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 require emergency food assistance in 2007.
In Kenya, large numbers of people, particularly in pastoral areas, continue to receive food assistance due to slow recovery from previous drought and continued pastoral conflict and cattle raids. In Sudan, insecurity remains a major factor in inhibiting access to food, particularly in the troubled Darfur region. Recent floods have also caused loss of life and damage to crops and property. In Uganda, a recent WFP-led assessment established that food security conditions had generally improved in Karamoja. However, poor crop prospects coupled with effects of recent severe floods will likely result in continued food assistance requirements.

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 Bangladesh, official estimates indicate that some 10 million persons across 39 districts have been negatively affected this summer’s severe floods and landslides. Preliminary official estimates indicate that some 8 percent of the country’s aggregate annual paddy area has been completely destroyed and another 5 percent partially damaged, seriously compromising prospects for this year’s rice production and food supply.
In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, unprecedented torrential rains in early to mid-August caused heavy flooding, resulting in severe damage to housing, infrastructure, the agriculture sector and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. Of particular concern has been the damage to the main cereal crop in major producing areas, which was compromised at a critical growth stage. The resulting reduction in output of staple food in 2007 will deteriorate the country’s already tight food supply situation. Some 960 000 directly affected people are estimated to be in need of emergency assistance, including food.
In India, the worst flooding for decades is officially estimated to have adversely affected about 18 million people, with hundreds of thousands at risk from hunger and disease.
In Nepal, torrential monsoon rains from mid-July causing severe flooding and landslides have worsened the food security situation for many vulnerable populations, where chronic and widespread food security already prevailed. International assistance is required.
In Sri Lanka, the food security situation in the northeast of the country, already threatened by the deterioration of the political and security situation, has deteriorated following floods and landslides in the early summer which made more than 11 000 homeless.
In Timor-Leste, a tight food supply situation, expected to continue in the coming months, and 100 000 people still displaced by the conflict last year, necessitates continued food aid.

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.

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