Indiana Blooms News Service
Friday June 8, 2018
New York, June 8 (IBNS): Despite ample food supplies, persistent conflicts and adverse climate shocks are taking a toll on global food security, according to a new report launched on Thursday by the United Nation’s agriculture agency.
The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) new Crop Prospects and
Food Situation reveals that since its last report in March, the number
of countries requiring external food assistance has jumped by two,
namely Cabo Verde and Senegal, to 39.
According to the report, civil war and insecurity in Africa and the
Middle East have displaced millions – resulting in high hunger rates.
“Poor rains have hit cereal production prospects in South America and
Southern Africa,” FAO explained. “Unfavourable weather conditions are
also placing a heavy burden on pastoralists in West Africa.”
The food insecure countries on FAO’s list are: Afghanistan, Burkina
Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad,
Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia,
Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Democratic People's Republic of Korea ,
Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania,
Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone,
Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and
Conflict and erratic rainfall:
Turning to cereal production, FAO foresees a 1.5 per cent annual drop
from last year’s record high, with a larger decline in some areas, such
as South and North America and Southern Africa.
“Conflicts have choked agricultural activity in swathes of Central
Africa, notably in the Central African Republic and parts of the
Democratic Republic of Congo, where access to food is further hindered
by surging inflation,” FAO elaborated.
On a brighter note, after consecutive seasons of drought-reduced
harvests, fresh rains point to cereal production gains in East Africa.
Meanwhile, abundant rains recently triggered flooding in Somalia,
Ethiopia and Kenya, displacing some 800,000 people. In contrast to the
trend in the subregion, high staple food prices are rising in Sudan and
South Sudan, intensifying food insecurity risks.
In the absence of humanitarian assistance, the number of severely food
insecure people in South Sudan is expected to rise to 7.1 million people
during the June-July lean season.
Turning to Asia, the cereal harvest is projected to remain similar to
last year's, with recoveries in countries affected by unfavourable
weather conditions, including Bangladesh, Viet Nam, the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea and, to a lesser extent, Sri Lanka.
While favourable crop conditions in India and Pakistan mean wheat
outputs are expected to rise further, fair weather will not be enough to
boost crop production in war-afflicted areas, as chronic conflicts
impedes access to fields such as in Iraq and Syria, where this year's
harvests are expected to decline further.