December 8, 2003
face food shortages, others expect bumper harvests
Though some regions in Sub-Saharan Africa can expect bumper
crops, food shortages are forecast in 23 countries throughout
the continent, according to the Africa Report released today by
According to FAO's Global Information and Early Warning System,
this provides an opportunity to enhance food security through
trade from surplus to deficit areas.
FAO urges aid agencies to rely on local purchases or triangular
transactions to carry out food aid activities. In triangular
transactions a third party finances trading between two other
For example, when a donor agency purchases grain from a farm
coop and provides the grain to a non-governmental organization
to use in nutrition programs, or to a government warehouse to
replenish a grain reserves.
The Africa Report is a regional and country-by-country breakdown
of crop prospects and food shortages in sub-Saharan Africa,
including expected food aid requirements.
East African trouble spots
According to the report, in eastern
the total cereal output is expected to increase over the last
year's reduced amount. "However, the impact of successive
droughts in parts of Somalia and south-eastern Ethiopia is a
cause for serious concern."
Somalia faces a "serious humanitarian crisis" in the Sool
Plateau caused by successive drought, crop failure and the
widespread loss of livestock. "An estimated 93,000 people are in
need of urgent food and other humanitarian assistance," the
Eritrea, despite improved cereal production over last year's
extremely poor crop, 1.4 million people will need emergency food
aid. But, Ethiopia and Sudan expect generally improved 2003
harvests that should enhance food security.
Tanzania faces serious threats to food security for the central,
southern and northern coastal areas due to drought, but the food
supply situation overall is stable.
Intensified civil strife in the north and east of Uganda has
swollen the number of displaced people in the country and
increased humanitarian assistance needs.
West Africa sees some improvement
a bumper crop is expected in the
following generally favorable weather throughout the growing
season. However, according to the report, Cape Verde, Guinea
Bissau and Mauritania still face food shortages.
Côte d'Ivoire, the food situation is critical, particularly in
the west and rebel-controlled north. In Liberia, the
humanitarian situation is improving following a peace agreement
in mid-August and the deployment of a West African peace keeping
force, but the overall security situation remains precarious.
neighboring Sierra Leone, despite below-normal rainfall, the
overall food security situation has improved with returning
refugees and displaced farmers resuming farming activities.
continues to suffer from the aftermath of conflict in the two
largest countries of the sub-region. Food production in the
Central African Republic is not expected to increase this year,
notably in the north, due to insecurity at planting time and a
lack of seeds.
the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, food production
continues to be hampered by insecurity.
Normal weather expected in southern Africa
The report forecasts normal weather conditions in southern
Africa for the 2003/04 agricultural season which has just begun.
But, it warns, several countries are still threatened by serious
Zimbabwe faces widespread shortages of key inputs such as seeds,
fertilizer, fuel and farm power, which will limit the area
planted. Some 5.5 million people, or half of the country's total
population, are in need of emergency food assistance.
Angola, food assistance is needed for 1.4 million vulnerable
people in spite of good harvests in 2003.
Madagascar has an estimated 600 000 people in need offood
assistance due to a poor maize harvest causedby drought last
season and in Mozambique, some 659 000 need food assistance due
to near-total maize crop failure last season.
The report says that the HIV/AIDS pandemic has a major and
widespread impact on sub-Saharan
The Africa Report is published three times annually by FAO's
Global Information and Early Warning System.
*The 23 countries facing food emergencies:
Angola, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic,
Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire,
Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar,
Mauritania, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland,
Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.