No.2  April 2007  
   Crop Prospects and Food Situation

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Food Emergencies Update

Global cereal production brief

Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries food situation overview

Regional reviews


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 emergencies persist in 33 countries worldwide. In 18 of the cases, the food crisis is wholly or partially a result of current or recent civil strife or conflict, while in the remainder, the impact of adverse weather on one or more of the most recent foodcrop production seasons, is the main cause.

In Western and Central Africa, serious localized food insecurity is reported in several countries due mostly to insecurity and lack of access problems. In Central African Republic, persistent insecurity continues to compromise the food security of thousands of people. A WFP Mission that visited the country in February 2007 estimated that 70 000 additional people have been displaced since September 2006, bringing the total number of IDPs in the country to about 220 000. The Mission recommended the distribution of emergency food aid to about 190 000 people. In Chad the worrying security situation in the eastern part of the country is disrupting agricultural and marketing activities. In Mauritania and Niger, localized populations, already suffering the compounded effects of reduced production in recent years, had poor harvests yet again in 2006, because of adverse weather, and their food security situation remains precarious. Emergency food assistance continues to be needed in Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone for large numbers of IDPs and refugees as a result of civil conflicts.

In Eastern Africa, impacts of floods, localized drought, recent outbreaks of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) in some countries and conflict related displacement continue to negatively impact on the food situation of a large number of people. In Eritrea, continued high prices of food commodities is compromising the access to food of large numbers of urban poor, displaced people and pastoralists. Similarly, in Ethiopia, continued high levels of food prices are negatively affecting poorer households. Overall, about 2.3 million people are identified to be in need of food assistance during 2007. In addition, as many as 7.3 million chronically food insecure people will be targeted with cash and/or food assistance under the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP). In Kenya, an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) in late December 2006 is a cause for serious concern. The disease has already killed hundreds of people and many livestock and reduced livestock reproduction rates. Control measures, including market closures and livestock movement restrictions, have constrained pastoralist income. Vaccines are in short supply, and the upcoming rainy season may renew conditions favourable for rapid RVF transmission. The North-eastern Province is the worst affected, with large livestock losses.

In Somalia, a large number of people are facing serious food insecurity. Escalating violence and insecurity in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, forced at least 40 000 people to flee the city in February alone. Insecurity had also affected the ability of humanitarian organizations to respond to emergencies and emerging needs. Increased cases of diseases, linked to post-flooding conditions, lack of access to safe drinking water and poor hygiene and sanitation practices, have affected many people and killed hundreds. Currently, nearly 1 million people, including 400 000 people displaced countrywide, will need food aid until June 2006. In Sudan, problems of physical and financial access to food due to war, displacement, poor infrastructure, weak marketing system and economic isolation continue to render millions of vulnerable people dependent on food assistance. About 4.6 million people in Sudan will need emergency food assistance during 2007 mainly due to civil unrest. In the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda, food difficulties remain in parts due to localized drought and/or insecurity. In Uganda, WFP still provides assistance for nearly 1.28 million IDPs and 500 000 drought affected people in Karamoja. In addition, 182 000 refugees in Uganda receive food assistance.

In Southern Africa, excessive rains from January to March have caused serious flooding damaging infrastructure and thousands of hectares of standing crops in Zambia, Mozambique and Madagascar. A UN Consolidated Appeal to help the affected population and to resettle farming has been launched for Mozambique and Madagascar and one is being prepared for Zambia. In Zimbabwe, the Minister of Agriculture has officially declared a drought situation in the country and food shortages are anticipated for millions of vulnerable people struggling under the deepening economic crisis. In Lesotho and Swaziland, anticipated poor cereal harvests again in 2007 preclude an improvement in the food security of these countries. In Madagascar, the food security situation has worsened in southern parts because of drought last season and dry weather and severe floods in parts this season. In the Great Lakes region, the continuing civil strife in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has affected large numbers of people who need food assistance. Food aid is also needed in Burundi following the reduced 2006 total food crops harvest, combined with resettlement of returnees and IDPs.

In Far East Asia, in Timor-Leste, where the current crops are significantly affected by unfavourable weather conditions and locusts, an estimated 100 000 IDPs are in need of food assistance. A tight food supply situation in Nepal continues as a result of a sharp decline in 2006 main crop production. In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, despite an upward revision to the official estimate of 2006 cereal production, the Government has announced a deficit of 1 million tonnes of cereals, and the food security situation of millions of people remains a serious concern. In Sri Lanka, conflict, displacement and localized flooding continue to affect large numbers of people. In the Near East, in Iraq, conflict and insecurity continue to affect the lives of a large number of people, triggering a large scale displacement. In the Asian CIS, a large number of people in Armenia have been rendered food insecure as a result of drought-reduced harvests last year.

In Central America, assistance continues to be required in Haiti, due to long-term problems of insecurity and economic crisis. In South America, adverse weather conditions (floods in the lowlands and drought and frost in the highlands) have affected Bolivia’s agricultural and livestock sectors, threatening the food security of the most vulnerable communities.

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