No.4  November 2009  
   Crop Prospects and Food Situation

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Food emergencies update

Global cereal supply and demand brief

Special feature: Domestic food prices in developing countries
remain high

Special feature: El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

Special feature: how China stabilized grain prices during the recent globalfood price crisis

Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries food situation overview

Regional reviews

Special feature: how China stabilized Grain prices during the recent globalfood Price crisis

Statistical Appendix


Food emergencies update

In Western Africa, delayed rains, several dry spells and floods have reduced 2009 crop production, notably in northern parts of Nigeria, southern parts of Niger and Chad, which may have a significant impact on regional cereal markets and lead to renewed price increases. Pastures were also seriously affected in these countries. In Niger, large segments of the population will be at risk of food shortages in 2010 and will require assistance as production of cowpea, the main source of income for farmers, is also forecast to be very poor. Safety net interventions, such as targeted distribution, sales at subsidized prices, food for work or cash for work activities, will be required during next year lean season, with quantities depending on the extent of food supply and pasture deficits in specific areas.

In Eastern Africa, more than 20 million people are in need of emergency food assistance due to the negative impact on crops and pastures of several consecutive seasons with inadequate rainfall, coupled with escalating conflicts and displacements. In Somalia, the persistent civil conflict continues to negatively impact the food security situation as well as disrupt the distribution of essential food aid. Poor rains during the 2009 main "gu" season have worsened crops and livestock conditions in Central regions, parts of the South and in the northwest regions of Hiran, Galgadud, Mudug, Nugal, Sool, Sanaag and Togdheer. The population in need of emergency food and non-food assistance, at least until December 2009, is estimated at 3.6 million people, nearly about 50 percent of total population. In Kenya, about 3.8 million people are estimated to be highly or extremely food insecure, mainly located in pastoral and marginal agricultural areas. Current levels of food insecurity are driven by the cumulative affects of several factors, such as four to five seasons with inadequate rainfall, the lingering impacts of 2008 poor harvest, high food prices and escalating conflicts for grazing resources, which were all highly detrimental to households' resilience. In Eritrea, the late start of the main season "kremti" rains has lowered expectations for a good harvest and has affected also pasture and forage availability especially in North and South Red Sea regions. In Ethiopia, late, erratic and below average "kremti" rains have affected planted area of 2009 meher long cycle crops as maize and sorghum and reduced availability of pastures in many parts of the country. In October, the number of people requiring relief food assistance was raised to 6.2 million compared to 5.3 million in May. In Sudan, the continuation of civil conflict in southern Sudan and Darfur is worsening the dire food security situation already faced by millions. Some 5.9 million people are estimated in need of food assistance in the whole country, with food aid distributions targeting 3.8 million conflict-affected people in Darfur alone. In Uganda, as a consequence of successive periods of drought and civil insecurity, approximately 1.1 million people require food assistance in Karamoja.

In Southern Africa, despite a generally improved food security situation following good harvests earlier in the year (May-June), some pockets of vulnerability and food insecurity persist. In Zimbabwe, the joint FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) estimated that 2.8 million people in the country require about 228 000 tonnes of food aid for the year ending March 2010. The total national food deficit to be met by imports is approximately 20 percent of the national consumption requirement. Despite improved cereal harvests in Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar, localised areas in the southern regions in all three countries continue to experience limited food access and availability, primarily due to drought conditions during the agricultural season. In Swaziland and Lesotho the Vulnerability Assessment Committees estimated that a total of 256 000 and 450 000 people respectively, are facing food difficulties. The current global economic downturn has also affected remittance transfers from South Africa, which could intensify the food insecurity situation for recipient households. Some 30 000 nationals of Angola were expelled from the Democratic Republic of Congo in October and are in need of emergency assistance.

In the Great Lakes region, the continued uncertain security situation in the north-eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo affects large numbers of people who require food and agricultural assistance, with approximately half the population categorised as moderately food insecure. Since September 2008, the continuing conflict has displaced as many as 540 000 people. Nationally, food assistance is provided to more than 1.1 million extremely vulnerable people, with emergency food distributions targeting 154 000 people affected by insecurity in the Orientale province. In Burundi, high food prices of basic staples such as cassava flour, beans and maize among others, are negatively affecting large numbers of households, particularly vulnerable households in the north-east that have been affected by successive drought conditions since 2000. WFP's protracted relief and recovery operation is targeting approximately 1 million beneficiaries.

In the Far East, recent cyclones, floods and droughts in addition to the continuing conflicts and civil strife affected a large number of people. In the Philippines, nearly 2 million people were affected by the tropical storm Ketsana which hit the northern island of Luzon on 26 September 2009 and caused heavy flooding in this main rice producing area. The Government declared "a state of calamity" for 25 provinces of the island and appealed for international assistance. A joint Government/UN appeal has been launched for 25 800 tonnes of food for 1 million most affected people. In Myanmar, the Government and partners recently appealed for USD 103 million to help meet critical recovery needs for last year's cyclone Nargis affected areas. In Sri Lanka, security situation has dramatically improved after the end of the 25-year old internal war in May 2009. However, nearly 300 000 refugees are still in the IDP camps. Despite the above-average food supply at the national level, food insecurity exists in the northern and eastern war-affected areas of the country, as the resettlement of IDPs and recovery of the productive systems are moving slowly. High food prices have contributed to food insecurity for the population especially with low incomes. In the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, with less than satisfactory harvest from the current main season, chronic food insecurity continues. The FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission of late 2008 confirmed a significant deterioration in food security in most parts of the country. The poor, especially those living in urban areas, continue to be affected by soaring food prices. Although the overall food supply situation in Pakistan is satisfactory, the serious insecurity in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the North West Frontier Province has triggered a significant displacement making up to 2 million IDPs food insecure since August 2008. In Nepal, following the high wheat crop losses, food security in many parts of the country has deteriorated. Reportedly, up to 2.7 million people have been affected by the winter drought, high food prices and other natural disasters, such as floods and landslides. In Bangladesh, localized food supply and market access difficulties persist . Cyclone Aila hit parts of coastal Bangladesh on 25 May 2009, triggering tidal surges and floods affecting about 4 million people. The food security situation of vulnerable groups has been further adversely affected by soaring food prices.

In the Near East, the food security situation is worsening in the northern Governorates of Sa'ada and Amran in Yemen where, due to the escalating conflict, the number of IDPs increased from 100 000 to 150 000 people in the last three months. An already approved WFP Emergency Operation has been recently revised in order to increase the number of beneficiaries, providing an additional 22 000 tonnes of food, and extending its working period until June 2010. In Afghanistan, with a bumper wheat harvest gathered in May-June, food supply conditions have improved significantly. However, food insecurity remains widespread in the country given the long-standing and continuing conflicts, which have resulted in loss of incomes and assets over past several years. WFP's Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation was launched with appeal for some 318 000 tonnes of food for about 8.8 million beneficiaries during 2009.

In the Central America and the Caribbean subregion, some southern departments of Guatemala were affected by a particularly long summer dry spell which affected the livelihoods of small farmers in the region of the Oriente dry corridor. The region comprises the eight departments of Baja Verapaz, El Progreso, Zacapa, Chiquimula, Jutiapa, Santa Rosa, Jalapa and Quiché, where most of the severely degraded lands lie. A joint FAO/WFP CFSAM is scheduled to start in early November to assess the aggregate food availability, production and the access to food of drought-affected populations. Heavy precipitations in early November have reversed the drought situation. Tropical storm Ida which was upgraded to a hurricane, hit the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua and then El Salvador, causing heavy rains, landslides and overflowing rivers. Loss of life, population displacement and damage to housing infrastructure and agriculture are reported. Logistic difficulties hamper access to affected population.

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