41 countries in the world, including 31 in Africa, require food assistance (FAO)

Prolonged conflicts and bad weather exacerbate food needs, warns the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

According to the latest FAO report on Crop Prospects and Food Situation released on Thursday, ongoing conflicts and droughts remain the main causes of severe food insecurity, compromising access to and availability of food for millions of people .

The report says that 41 countries, including 31 in Africa, still need external assistance to meet their food needs, a situation that has not changed for three months.

The 41 countries currently in need of external assistance to cover their food needs are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Korea Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Uganda, Venezuela, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

Lack of rainfall compromises food production

In 2019, the damage caused by Hurricane Idai and the lack of rains had a severe impact on agricultural production in southern Africa, including the need to increase cereal import requirements. Harvests fell for the second year in a row in Zimbabwe and Zambia, while neighboring countries also saw declines in production due to adverse weather conditions, such as Mozambique with Cyclone Idai. In Zimbabwe, food insecurity is expected to worsen further in 2019, exacerbated by a sharp rise in staple food prices and the economic crisis. By early 2019, nearly 3 million people in the country were considered to be food insecure.

In East Africa, a severe drought affected the harvests of the first season and led to a deterioration in pasture conditions. The largest decreases in cereal production in 2019 are expected in Kenya, Somalia and Sudan where, according to the report, harvests are expected to be below average.

In Asia, below average production of wheat and barley in 2018/19 is expected in North Korea, and concerns remain about the main seasonal crops in 2019, due to increasingly scarce rains and weakness. the availability of water for irrigation. According to the recent FAO / WFP Rapid Food Security Assessment Mission of 2019, more than 10 million people, or 40 percent of the population, are currently food insecure and in need of food security. food aid urgently.

Chronic conflicts have serious implications for food security

In the Near East, despite favorable climatic conditions, ongoing armed conflicts in Syria and Yemen continue to hamper agricultural activities by limiting the availability of inputs and increasing production costs. In Yemen, during the period from December 2018 to January 2019, nearly 15.9 million people, or 53 percent of the population, were facing acute food insecurity.

Similarly, in Africa, the dire food security situation in many countries, including the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, is the result of persistent conflict and insecurity. In South Sudan, in particular, according to some estimates, from May to July 2019, the number of people facing severe food insecurity was almost 7 million, or 60% of the population

Source: UN News Service