Jamaican and Mozambican leaders honoured with Agricola medal

Prime Minister Percival James Patterson of Jamaica and President Joaquim Alberto Chissano of Mozambique have been awarded the Agricola medal, FAO's highest distinction.

Prime Minister Patterson was recognized for his achievement in boosting food production in his country. He was also cited for his efforts to develop the agricultural sector with the ultimate objective of guaranteeing food security and for promoting international solidarity in the struggle against hunger and malnutrition.

President Chissano was commended for his commitment to the elimination of hunger and malnutrition in his country and throughout Africa. The medal acknowledged his dedication to the welfare of rural populations and to the development of the agricultural sector in Mozambique, even in the face of last year's devastating floods, which destroyed crops and livestock in large parts of the country.

The Agricola medal honours individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of sustainable food production and the eradication of poverty. Other recipients of the award have included the late Keizo Obuchi, former Prime Minister of Japan, President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana and Prime Minister Jean Chrétien of Canada.

30 January 2001


New forestry database online


A new database is now available online to assist national institutions in the management of their forest genetic resources. The database, REFORGEN, allows visitors to search for information on more than 1 600 forest tree and shrub species from 146 countries and territories.

REFORGEN provides information on species origin, management, main uses, current endangered status and principal threats, conservation activities, tree improvement programmes and availability of reproductive material. Also included is information on the lead institutions active in the field of forest genetic resources in a given country, including contact details.

The database aims to provide reliable and up-to-date information to national institutions, especially in developing nations. The core data were compiled from responses to a questionnaire sent to the national forest services of FAO member countries, and to additional contacts, including other government institutions, research institutes, universities, relevant non-governmental organizations and the private sector. The United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, provided technical assistance in developing the structure of the database.

By making existing information available through the Internet, FAO hopes to further involve countries, institutions and individual experts in complementing and updating the data.

Click here to go to the REFORGEN database

8 January 2001

Food shortages continue in much of sub-Saharan Africa

As 2000 draws to a close, severe food shortages persist in 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, mainly due to drought and civil conflict. The food crisis affects an estimated 28 million people, up from 19 million in 1999, according to a new FAO report. The situation is most critical in eastern Africa, where 20 million people will require continued food assistance well into 2001.

Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan need large cereal imports, mostly in the form of food aid, to prevent starvation, says the latest issue of FAO's "Food Supply Situation and Crop Prospects in Sub-Saharan Africa." The report is published three times a year by the FAO Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS).

In Angola, disruption of agricultural activities due to insecurity during the critical planting period threatens the already precarious food situation. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the ongoing conflict continues to hamper economic and agricultural activities, and the number of internally displaced persons has reached two million. The food situation for the displaced is extremely tight, as persistent fighting and lack of security leave humanitarian agencies unable to reach displaced people. Civil strife is also disrupting food production in Burundi, Sierra Leone and Sudan. Additional countries facing exceptional food emergencies are the Republic of Congo, Liberia, Madagascar, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda.

Due to reduced production in many areas, sub-Saharan Africa's cereal import requirements are expected to remain high in 2001. Continuing financial difficulties in many of these countries mean that a large part of these imports will need to be met by food aid in order to avert hardship and loss of life.

Full press release
Food Supply Situation and Crop Prospects in sub-Saharan Africa No. 3, December 2000 (in pdf)
Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS)

27 December 2000

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