FAO Regional Conference for Europe
FAO will hold its 22nd regional conference for Europe from 24-28 July in Porto, Portugal. Ministers of Agriculture from 42 countries have been invited to review food security in Europe and examine actions to be taken to help the populations in greatest need.
The focus of the conference will be on food safety and quality, especially coordination between food safety policies in the European Union and other European countries and actions undertaken by FAO.
The Ministers will address two topics of special concern to the Europeans - safety and quality of foods of animal origin and of organically produced foods. The meeting will identify regulations to be harmonized and areas of scientific cooperation needed to develop methodos to protect consumers.
In addition, the Regional Conference will examine what has been done to develop and rehabilitate agriculture in the Balkans. Participants will review the donor contributions and efforts of FAO, the World Food Programme and other organizations during the Balkan emergency. Future activities in the region will be discussed.
The multifunctional character of agriculture and land will be another item on the agenda, as will the follow-up to the World Food Summit.
Go to Conference Papers
25 July 2000
Severe drought devastates Pakistan's largest province
Three consecutive years of serious drought have severely damaged crop and livestock production in the Baluchistan province of Pakistan. Cereal output this year is 20 percent below average and livestock losses are extremely heavy.
Baluchistan, Pakistan's largest province, accounts for nearly 20 percent of national livestock, making it the area's most important sector. According to a recent FAO/WFP joint mission, in the most affected of the province's 26 districts, farmers have lost up to 50 percent of their sheep and up to 40 percent of their goats. Domestic milk production is down by as much as 80 percent. Both animal feed and medicines are urgently needed simply to maintain a minimum breeding stock in these districts.
The devastating drought conditions have similarly decimated crop production. Rainfed wheat has almost completely failed. Other cereal output is also down, leading to an overall 20 percent decline compared to the last four years. This leaves a deficit of 93 000 tonnes for the coming year.
The report explains that, although the deficit is not large from a national perspective, a great number of the people in Baluchistan, especially nomads, have no purchasing power due to crop and livestock losses. The real problem is not food availability, but the lack of means to access food. With the drought now in its third year, many of these people face extreme hardship. The report concludes that "their conditions will deteriorate further as they will exhaust the few coping mechanisms that they may still have."
7 July 2000
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