FAO/GIEWS: Africa Report No.3 - December 2004 p.3
Below-average crop production is estimated in several countries of the sub-region in 2004, following erratic seasonal rains and conflict in parts. This will exacerbate the already precarious food situation in the sub-region. Reports of recent FAO/WFP missions to the sub-region are expected to be issued in the coming weeks.
In Somalia, a serious humanitarian emergency persists in several parts of the country with an estimated 700�000 people depending on food assistance.
In Eritrea, successive poor seasonal rains and lingering effects of war with Ethiopia render an estimated 1.4 million people dependent on food assistance with additional half a million people reported to be at risk.
In Ethiopia, poor and erratic rains in the pastoral areas, particularly in the Somali Region, have led to serious food and water shortages. Nationally, in spite of improved crop production, large numbers of people are expected to be in need of food assistance.
In Kenya, a well-below average main season maize crop coupled with successive poor seasons in most pastoral areas have resulted in a precarious food situation. Overall, nearly 2.7 million people are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance.
In Sudan, more than 4 million people are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance mainly due to conflict. The humanitarian crisis in Greater Darfur is particularly worrying but the emergency needs in southern Sudan are also serious, despite improvements in security conditions.
In the United Republic of Tanzania, the overall food supply situation is satisfactory following an above average cereal crop. However, some 12 districts in northern and central Tanzania are facing varying degrees of food difficulties.
In Uganda, the overall food supply situation remains stable but prices are relatively high following the reduced 2004 main season food crops. Nearly 2 million people in the northern parts of the country are in need of food assistance, mainly due to conflict.
Weather conditions for 2004/05 main agricultural season which has just begun are forecast to be normal.
In Zimbabwe, high prices and shortage of maize grain in certain areas are causing serious food security concerns. Continued widespread shortages of key inputs such as seeds, fertilizer, fuel and farm power are expected during this planting season. Some 4.8 million people, about 40 percent of the total population, are in need of emergency food assistance.
In Swaziland and Lesotho, large sections of the populations lack to access to food and require emergency food aid and agricultural inputs, mainly due to the impact of drought in 2004.
In Angola, food assistance is needed for up to 717�000 returnees and other vulnerable people notwithstanding the good harvests in 2004.
In Malawi,about 1.3 million vulnerable people, including those affected by crop failures and HIV/AIDS, require emergency food assistance, estimated at 56�000 tonnes of cereals during the 2004/05 (April/March) marketing year.
To deal with the problem of food insecurity caused by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, WFP has launched a three-year regional Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) requiring 656�573 tonnes of food.
A series of joint FAO/CILSS/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Missions to the nine CILSS member countries in the Sahel in October estimated that aggregate cereal production will remain within the five year average of around 11.6 million tonnes, although a combination of drought and locusts has caused severe localised damage to crops and pastures in many rural communities, notably in the northern parts of most countries.
In Mauritania, the most affected country, 2004 aggregate cereal production is expected to drop by 44 percent compared to last year, and pasture has been severely affected.
Cape Verde has been severely affected by poor rainfall and locust attacks, and will be facing a larger than usual food deficit in 2004/05.
In Mauritania and Cape Verde as well as in other affected countries, many farming families will need seeds and other inputs for off-season agriculture, and even for the next main growing season, in addition to food assistance to the most affected populations.
In C�te d�Ivoire, an escalation of violence has caused thousands of people to cross into Liberia since early October.
In Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, food assistance continues to be needed for internally displaced people and refugees.
In Central African Republic, strong agricultural recovery is constrained by persistent insecurity.
In the Republic of Congo, the volatile security situation continues to hamper humanitarian assistance.
Increased tensions recently between Rwanda and the DR Congo have raised the spectre of renewed armed conflict.
Dry weather conditions at the start of the main cropping season in September-October in Burundi and Rwanda have rendered early prospects for 2005 A season harvest unfavourable.