Friday, March 3, 2017
Global harvests strong but hunger persists amid chronic conflict zones.
Global food supply conditions are robust, but access to food has been dramatically reduced in areas suffering civil conflicts, while drought conditions are worsening food security across swathes of East Africa, according to the new edition of FAO's Crop Prospects and Food Situation report. Some 37 countries require external assistance for food, 28 of them in Africa as a result of lingering effects of last year's El Niño-triggered droughts on harvests in 2016. Yet, while agricultural production is expected to rebound in southern Africa, protracted fighting and unrest is increasing the ranks of the displaced and hungry in other parts of the world. Famine has been formally declared in South Sudan and the food security situation is of grave concern in northern Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen. “This is an unprecedented situation. Never before have we been faced with 4 threats of famine in multiple countries simultaneously,” said FAO Assistant Director-General Kostas Stamoulis, head of the Economic and Social Development department. “It demands swift action which should consist of immediate food assistance but also livelihood support to ensure that such situations are not repeated.” In South Sudan, 100,000 people were facing famine in Leer and Mayendit Counties, part of former Unity State, while there was an "elevated risk" that similar conditions existed in two nearby counties. Overall, about 4.9 million people across the country were classified as facing crisis, emergency or famine. That number is projected to increase to 5.5 million, or almost half the country's population, at the peak of the lean season in July. In northern Nigeria, 8.1 million people are facing acute food insecurity conditions and require urgent life-saving response and livelihood protection. That comes despite the above-average cereal harvest in 2016 and reflects the disruption caused by conflict as well as the sharp depreciation of the Naira. source