No.3  May 2007  
   Crop Prospects and Food Situation

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Food Emergencies Update

Global cereal supply and demand brief

FAO’s global cereal supply and demand Indicators point to another tight season

Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries food situation overview

Regional reviews

Statistical appendix


Food Emergencies Update

Despite improved food supply in many of the countries normally most at risk from food insecurity, following record or bumper 2006 cereal crops, FAO’s latest assessment indicates that food difficulties persist in 33 countries worldwide. In Western and Central Africa, in spite of an overall good food supply situation, serious localized food insecurity is reported in Mauritania, Niger, Guinea-Bissau and Chad due mostly to lack of access or civil strife. In Central African Republic, persistent insecurity continues to compromise the food situation of thousands of people and nearly 200 000 people are in need of urgent food assistance. In Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone large numbers of IDPs and refugees as a result of civil conflicts continue to require emergency food aid.

In Eastern Africa, notwithstanding the general improvements in overall food availability, millions of people face serious food difficulties due to the effects of localized drought conditions and ongoing or past conflicts. The situation in southern Somalia is of particular concern with the impact of recent flare up of conflict, mainly in the capital Mogadishu. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced but some are reported to have started to go back as the heavy fighting seems to have subsided. In Eritrea, high food prices and the cumulative effect of earlier displacements and drought conditions continue to affect large number of vulnerable people. In Ethiopia, the Food Security Bureau (FSB) tentatively estimates that about 7.3 million chronically food insecure people need cash or food assistance through the Productive Safety Net Program and a further 1.3 million people require emergency food assistance. In Kenya, large numbers of people, particularly in pastoral areas, continue to receive food assistance due to drought or floods. In Sudan, insecurity remains a major factor in inhibiting access to food, particularly in the troubled Darfur region. In Tanzania U.R., food difficulties persist in parts due to localized drought. In Uganda, conflict coupled with a poor cropping season, continues to affect the food security of thousands of people in the Karamoja region. In northern parts, better security conditions have improved access to productive resources for IDPs, but the slow progress of the peace process continues to hamper their return home.

In Southern Africa, prolonged dry spells and erratic rainfall has resulted in reduced 2007 cereal crops in areas, while excessive rains and serious flooding adversely affected production in others. In Zimbabwe, where this year has been declared as a “drought year”, food shortages are anticipated for millions of vulnerable people struggling under the deepening economic crisis and sky rocketing inflation, considered to be highest in the world currently. In Lesotho and Swaziland, anticipated poor cereal harvests again in 2007 preclude an improvement in the food security of these countries. Despite overall average cereal outputs this year, localized food insecurity has affected large numbers of people in southern Madagascar, affected by dry weather and severe floods this season; southern and central Mozambique, where prolonged dry weather and floods respectively resulted in serious crop losses, and one-third of the districts in Zambia, due to floods or insufficient rains during the season. In the Great Lakes region, the continuing civil strife in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has adversely affected large numbers of people who need food assistance. Food aid is also needed in Burundi following the reduced 2006 foodcrops harvest, combined with resettlement of returnees and IDPs.

In Far East Asia, in Timor-Leste, production of the current cropping season has been severely compromised by unfavourable weather. Food shortages and high market prices have been reported since February. The food supply situation remains tight in Nepal as a result of a big decline in 2006 main crop production despite a recently harvested good secondary wheat crop. Chronic shortages are reported particularly in the Far-Western and Mid-West mountain regions. In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, despite a recent pledge of 400 000 tonnes of food aid by the Republic of Korea, the food supply situation for millions of people remains a serious concern. In Sri Lanka, conflict continues to affect the food security of large numbers of people.

In the Near East, in Iraq, insecurity continues to affect the entire population with civilians bearing the brunt of the violence. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), some 50 000 people leave Iraq every month seeking refuge. Overall, nearly 1.8 million are internally displaced and 2 million have fled to neighbouring countries. In Afghanistan, recent flash floods have caused significant damage to lives and livelihoods throughout the country.

In South America, emergency assistance is required for large numbers of vulnerable population in Bolivia, affected by serious crop and livestock losses following drought and floods during the 2007 main cropping season.

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