23 July 2003, Rome -- In
sub-Saharan Africa, 23 countries are facing food
emergencies, according to a new report released by FAO today.
The countries are Angola, Burundi, Cape
Verde, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo,
Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia,
Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania,
Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania,
Uganda and Zimbabwe.
The main reasons for
emergencies are civil strife, drought, the internal displacement
of people and economic disruption.
In Western Africa, food production and other economic
activities in several coastal countries continue to be disrupted
by civil strife.
Liberia, persistent armed clashes that
restrict access to most agricultural areas and cause mass
population displacement are a major cause of food insecurity.
Agricultural production is being disrupted by renewed fighting,
pointing to a further drop in rice production this year.
Until recently, some 200 000 internally
displaced persons from the north, northwest, and central regions
were living in camps in the suburbs of Monrovia; following
recent escalations of violence, most of them have fled to the
city centre and are living in extremely difficult conditions and
are dependent on food aid.
overall security situation is improving in Côte
d'Ivoire, the food situation remains critical,
mainly in the rebel-controlled north and west. In the north,
access to food is very difficult for cotton farmers who were
unable to sell their crop because of the conflict.
In the west, which suffers continuing attacks against
civilians and population displacement, and where renewed
fighting in Liberia has led to a new influx of displaced
persons, farm families have limited access to their fields
because of insecurity. More than one million people have been
displaced by the conflict.
Mauritania, although emergency food aid
distributions and subsidized sales of wheat have improved the
food situation in the worst-hit regions, grain supplies remain
tight and livestock prices are falling, seriously limiting
access to food for pastoralists and farming households.
Approximately 420 000 people need food assistance. Emergency
provision of seeds will be necessary to enable drought-affected
farming families to resume agricultural production.
In eastern Africa, heavy rains and floods
earlier in the year in parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia
killed a number of people, displaced thousands, destroyed or
damaged crops and increased the likelihood of serious localized
Eritrea, serious food shortages persist with
as many as two-thirds of the country's population severely
affected due to last year's drought. Of these, an estimated
1.4 million need emergency food assistance. In addition,
humanitarian assistance continues to be needed for large numbers
of people internally displaced by the recent war with
neighbouring Ethiopia and returning refugees from Sudan.
In Ethiopia, the number
of people in need of food assistance is now estimated at 12.5
serious food shortages have emerged in several parts of the
country. In southern Sudan, 1.9 million people will
need food assistance until the next harvest.
In southern Africa, the 2003 cereal
production is forecast to increase by 6.6 percent over last
year's average level to 21.6 million tonnes. Despite better
harvests, southern Africa still requires a significant amount of
food aid in the coming months.
HIV/AIDS pandemic is a major compounding factor in the
sub-region's food security problems.
In Zimbabwe, cereal production
remained well below normal levels, and 5.5 million people, or
half of the country's total population, need emergency food
aid. The impact of a severe drought was compounded by the
prevailing social, economic and political problems. The
large-scale farm sector produced only one-tenth of its 1990s
output. The country faces a shortfall of close to 1.3 million
tonnes of cereals.
Mozambique, the overall cereal harvest was
good but some 949 000 people mainly in the southern provinces
will require food assistance due to near-total failure of the
the 2003 cereal production increased substantially reflecting
good weather, increased plantings following the return of
internally displaced people to rural areas, and improved
distribution of agricultural inputs. However, food aid will
continue to be required for 1.4 million people in
In Central Africa, civil
strife and insecurity continue to undermine food security in
A serious humanitarian
situation persists in the Democratic Republic of
Congo, due to inter-ethnic violence. Hundreds of
people have been killed and thousands displaced. Favourable
growing conditions notwithstanding, crop production is expected
to be sharply reduced in the eastern and north-eastern parts
following the escalation of civil war. Around 483 000 people
will receive emergency food assistance from the World Food
In the Central African
Republic, the food security situation is precarious;
food production is not expected to increase this year due to
persistent insecurity, notably in the north.
In Burundi and Rwanda, rains in
late April and May improved conditions for the 2003 second
season so good crops are in prospect. However, there were
localized crop losses in some provinces due to unfavourable
"Food Supply Situation
and Crop Prospects in Sub-Saharan Africa" is a report
of the Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS).
Information Officer, FAO
(+39) 06 570