Madagascar: cereal harvest down 15 percent
Output from Madagascar's cereal crops in 2000 -- mainly rice -- is estimated to be down 15 percent from last year. This follows three devastating cyclones earlier this year, coupled with serious drought conditions in the South region and central parts. Maize, the main staple in the food-deficit South region, has been hardest hit, falling by 22 percent.
This leaves a quarter of the estimated national cereal requirement of just over 2 million tonnes uncovered. While commercial imports are anticipated at about 426 000 tonnes and 30 000 tonnes will come from emergency food aid, nearly 62 000 tonnes are still needed from programmed food aid.
A special report issued by FAO/WFP describes the food situation in the southern region as "extremely serious". Food shortages are anticipated in 17 communes. Over 155 000 people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. Seeds, small farm tools, pesticides and fertilizers are also urgently required. Initial estimates for repairs solely to the irrigation infrastructure stand at US$85.6 million.
14 June 2000
Crop production substantially down in Mozambique
A joint FAO/WFP mission to Mozambique has estimated that overall crop production in 2000 will be substantially lower than last year. Last February and March the country experienced the worst flooding in 40 years causing nearly 700 deaths. The total cost of the damage, a crippling US$490 million, is an enormous setback for a national economy which had been growing at high and sustained rates.
A special report assessing the damage from the torrential rains states that the planted area lost to the floods is 167 000 ha for the first season. This represents up to 41 percent of food crop plantings in the worst-affected southern province of Maputo. Tools and 1 240 tonnes of seeds have already been provided for the second season, which should increase the area planted by 62 000 ha.
The report also states that 650 000 people will need some 60 000 tonnes of emergency food assistance. In response to the flooding, FAO has twice made urgent appeals for funds for agricultural rehabilitation to help Mozambique's farmers.
14 June 2000
FAO gives aid to earthquake victims in Turkey
In February, FAO and the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, launched a joint project to provide emergency assistance to the small farmers affected by last year's devastating earthquake.
On 17 August 1999, a major earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale ripped through the densely populated region of Marmara in Turkey causing over 17 000 deaths and leaving more than 600 000 homeless. The region is a major agricultural area with extensive crop and animal production. Initial damage assessments after the earthquake showed financial losses to agriculture totaling nearly US$750 million.
The FAO project aims to support small farmers affected by the earthquake with basic agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, high quality seeds, hybrid chicks and breeding animals, as well as agricultural equipment. The Turkish government will contribute staff, training and supplemental agricultural inputs. FAO also plans to provide initial support in the rehabilitation process of the food production system through technical and management advice and services. Without this cooperative effort, the region could experience significant food production shortages.
6 June 2000
FAO signs agreement with dairy giant, Parmalat
The agreement is part of FAO's drive to involve the private sector in the effort to meet the 1996 World Food Summit's goal - to reduce by at least half the number of hungry people in the world by the year 2015.
Parmalat will sponsor FAO activities under TeleFood - an awareness-raising campaign that uses concerts, sporting activities and fund-raising events involving public figures and celebrities. Some 500 microprojects in developing countries and countries in transition are currently being financed by the TeleFood Fund. Farm families in Cambodia, beginner beekeepers in Samoa, small-scale farmers in Honduras, watermelon growers in China and fishsellers in Burkina Faso are just some of the world's farmers, herders and fisherfolk who are benefiting from the fruits of TeleFood.
The FAO/Parmalat agreement also foresees joint missions to and activities in developing countries, combining Parmalat's technological and managerial resources with FAO technical assistance.
14 April 2000