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Archive for the tag “Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations”

FAO issues alert over third consecutive failed rainy season, worsening hunger in East Africa (14.07.2017)

Number of people needing humanitarian assistance on the rise.

ROME, Italy, July 14, 2017 – Poor rains across East Africa have worsened hunger and left crops scorched, pastures dry and thousands of livestock dead – according to an alert released today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The most affected areas, which received less than half of their normal seasonal rainfall, are central and southern Somalia, southeastern Ethiopia, northern and eastern Kenya, northern Tanzania and northeastern and southwestern Uganda.

The alert issued by FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) warns that the third consecutive failed rainy season has seriously eroded families’ resilience, and urgent and effective livelihood support is required.

“This is the third season in a row that families have had to endure failed rains – they are simply running out of ways to cope,” said FAO’s Director of Emergencies Dominique Burgeon. “Support is needed now before the situation rapidly deteriorates further.”

Increasing humanitarian need

The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in the five aforementioned countries, currently estimated at about 16 million, has increased by about 30 percent since late 2016. In Somalia, almost half of the total population is food insecure. Timely humanitarian assistance has averted famine so far but must be sustained. Conditions across the region are expected to further deteriorate in the coming months with the onset of the dry season and an anticipated early start of the lean season.

The food security situation for pastoralists is of particular concern, in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, where animal mortality rates are high and milk production from the surviving animals has declined sharply with negative consequences on food security and nutrition.

“When we know how critical milk is for the healthy development of children aged under five, and the irreversible damage its lack can create, it is evident that supporting pastoralists going through this drought is essential,” said Burgeon.

Livestock prices have plummeted because of poor animal body conditions and this, coupled with soaring cereal prices, has severely constrained pastoralists’ access to food.  Rangeland and livestock conditions are expected to further deteriorate at least until the next rainy season starts in October.

Poor crop prospects

In several cropping areas across the region, poor rains have caused sharp reductions in planting, and wilting of crops currently being harvested. Despite some late rainfall in May, damage to crops is irreversible.

In addition, fall armyworm, which has caused extensive damage to maize crops in southern Africa, has spread to the east and has worsened the situation. In Kenya, the pest has so far affected about 200 000 hectares of crops, and in Uganda more than half the country’s 111 districts are affected.

In Somalia there are unfavourable prospects for this year’s main gu crops, after the gu rains were late with poor rainfall and erratic distribution over most areas of the country. In the Lower Shabelle region, the main maize producing area, seasonal rainfall was about 50 percent below- average and drought conditions are currently affecting up to 85 percent of the cropland.

In Ethiopia, unfavourable belg rains in southern cropping areas are likely to result in localized cereal production shortfalls. Drought is also affecting yields in Kenya’s central, southeastern and coastal areas. In Tanzania, unfavourable rains are likely to result in localized cereal production shortfalls in northern and central areas, while in Uganda there are unfavourable production prospects are unfavourable for first season crops in the southwestern and northern districts.

Cereal prices are surging, driven by reduced supplies and concerns over the performance of current-season crops. Prices in May were at record to near-record levels in most markets and up to double their year-earlier levels.

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New Study Finds Worrying Climate Trend in Karamoja Over Last 35 Years (20.03.2017)

Released in Kampala today, the ‘Impacts of Climate Change on Food Security and Livelihoods in Karamoja’ found that temperatures have been rising in Karamoja over the last 35 years.

KAMPALA, Uganda, March 20, 2017 – A new study carried out by the Government of Uganda and its partners has found a new weather pattern that threatens to worsen food insecurity in the Karamoja region if no action is taken.

The study found that the average monthly rainfall in the region increased over the last 35 years and that the rainy season is now longer by two months. However, the rains – which now fall from around March to the end of the year – increasingly varied in volumes. This unpredictability was found to undermine agricultural production, thereby threatening to aggravate food insecurity in Karamoja.

Released in Kampala today, the ‘Impacts of Climate Change on Food Security and Livelihoods in Karamoja’ found that temperatures have been rising in Karamoja over the last 35 years.

The rising temperatures threaten to increase the frequency, intensity and duration of heat waves in the region, therefore reducing availability of water for crops and animals. This too undermines food security.

A large majority of people in Karamoja, particularly women, were not aware that changes to the climate had been taking place over decades, the study states. However, most of the people that had perceived changes to the climate had not taken any action to adapt, typically because they did not know how to do so. Where trees were planted as an adaptation measure, the sale of charcoal and firewood were also a common measure that people took in response to climate-related crop failure.

Sponsored by the Swedish Government, the study was carried out in 2016 by the Ministry of Water and Environment with support from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the CGIAR Consortium’s Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security.

The Uganda Minister for Water and Environment, Sam Cheptoris, said today, “These are significant findings that threaten any hope for Uganda achieving its Vision 2040 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), if no immediate action is taken.”

Cheptoris said that his Ministry was already calling for a national and regional response, advocating for climate change sensitive approaches across all Government sectors, educating the population about climate change, and undertaking emissions profiles.

“Karamoja’s population is heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture, which is highly vulnerable to climate change,” said El Khidir Daloum, WFP Country Director for Uganda. “However, little has been known previously about the impacts of climate change on food security, and in particular, the ability of households in the region to adapt.”

WFP hopes that the findings and recommendations of the study will contribute to efforts toward appropriate adaptation measures while helping to identify policies that will safeguard the most vulnerable communities in Karamoja.

The study recommended that the Government and its partners increase investments in water harvesting and agroforestry schemes, education of the people, improved access to climate change information and the cultivation of drought-resistant crop varieties.

Within the Ministry of Water and Environment, the study was carried out by the Climate Change Department and the Uganda National Meteorological Authority.

Mogadishu Declaration on Regional Cooperation on the Current Drought (22.02.2017)

East-Africa

Mogadishu – Wednesday, 22 February 2016The following joint declaration was made in Mogadishu by H.E. Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti, H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, and H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia.

1. We have come together as the heads of government of four countries in a region facing significant stress as a result of the current drought. Multiple seasons of failed rains and global weather patterns have, yet again, negatively affected the resilience mechanisms of millions of our people. This is evident in the immediate humanitarian crisis facing us today and will show up in longer term socio-economic vulnerability in communities that today are selling all their assets and uprooting their families for survival.

2. This situation, which may worsen in Somalia and result in a renewed famine over the coming months, could also have security and political implications in our region and beyond, as coping mechanisms are eroded and tensions over dwindling resources risks sparking conflict. Scores of people are moving both within countries and across borders in the hope of increasing their chances of survival. This upheaval is taking a particularly heavy toll on children and women, and makes people vulnerable to exploitation, human rights abuses and to criminal and terrorist networks. Drought-related disease outbreaks and inter-communal conflict are already on the rise.

3. While each of our governments is mobilising to respond, the dire situation calls for international collaboration and regional partnership between governments, civil society, aid organisations, business and international donors.

4. We commit ourselves to regional cooperation to facilitate a more comprehensive response and strong partnership.

5. We commit to strengthening our cross-border collaboration and our efforts to establish security and stability in Somalia to ensure an effective response to the drought and to enable further progress in peace building and state building in Somalia. We further commit to the provision of appropriate protection and assistance to those compelled to leave their areas of origin as a consequence of the drought, including those who have fled to neighbouring countries.

6. We will be consulting on a regular basis to review progress on these issues, and to agree upon any necessary collective action that will help our countries and region respond to this emergency. Furthermore, we have instructed our respective foreign ministers and drought response teams to work together and keep us briefed.

7. In the longer term, we commit to working together bilaterally and through existing regional bodies such as IGAD, the African Union as well as the United Nations to address the underlying structural issues that commonly affect our economies, environments and communities, including cross-border rangeland and water resource management.

END

1.6 million People affected in hunger crisis and other growing issues in the agricultural sector in Uganda!

isingiro-relief-703x422

The Republic of Uganda has certain areas that have been affected with the drought and the lacking rain, which has affected the yields and output of food. The areas that has been in dire straits since El-Nino is in Teso, Karamoja and West Nile; these areas are in different stages, but all as worrying as the 1.6 million people are in a crisis situation, while 26% of all population or 9.3 million people are in a stressed situation. Let’s take a deep breath and look at the numbers coming from the offices of Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda. That has delivered this numbers and they are worrying.

An estimated 1.6 million people (5% of the total population) are in Crisis situation. Those populations are found in Central 1 (0.58 million); Karamoja (0.12 million), Teso (0.2 million), East Central (0.38 million) and South Western (0.31 million) regions. This population has widening food consumption gaps with deteriorating dietary diversity and high malnutrition rates. They are found in Central 1 (0.58 million), Karamoja (0.12 million), Teso (0.2 million), East Central (0.38 million) and South Western (0.31 million) regions. The affected population includes the poorest households with poor food consumption score, low meal frequencies of up to 1 meal a day and low dietary diversity of less than 3 food groups. They have poor purchasing power as their incomes are low and no food stocks at household level. They are mainly coping through food assistance, remittances from relatives, begging, stealing food, wild food gathering and irreversible sale of productive assets to buy food. This population currently needs assistance to bridge the widening food consumption gaps and avert worsening malnutrition” (Office of the Prime Minister, 2017).

You can wonder what is the plan of the Republic when they know that the people have poor purchasing power, while the dwindling yields of the small-farming in these regions, doesn’t have the purchasing power of central regions. The trades and lacking production has equally hurt these citizens in Teso and Karamoja. Therefore the drought and lacking rain-fall has made the situation worse, as much as the rising refugee camps also getting aid and support from United Nation organization. While the republic have not galvanized agricultural structures and supported the citizens in dire need. This shows that the state has forgotten the reason for its existence. But there are more!

An estimated 9.3 million people (26% of the total population) are experiencing Stressed situation. Those populations are in East Central (1.88 million); South Western (1.24 million), Teso (1.1 million) and West Nile (1.04 million) regions. This population has minimum adequate food consumption, employing insurance strategies and are unable to afford some essential non-food expenditures. The prolonged dry spell due to La Nina phenomenon coupled with increasing incidences of crop and livestock pests and diseases such as Cassava Brown Streak, Cassava Mosaic, maize stalk borer, striga and Banana Bacterial Wilt grossly affected production reducing the availability and accessibility of food for this population. The low crop and livestock production negatively impacted household food stocks leading to increased reliance on markets for food. Increasing demand from external markets has induced food price increases, making it difficult for poor households to access food from the market. Deteriorating water and pasture conditions mainly in the cattle corridor have resulted in migrations of livestock keepers, reduction in livestock production and increased spread of livestock diseases. The over whelming influx of refugees from South Sudan has increased demand for food and services in West Nile region” (Office of the Prime Minister, 2017).

So it is bad that 1.6 million people are lacking resource, possibility to produce food, but also that the state doesn’t deliver help or aid to the people. The other numbers of affected people, shows even more the systematic defaults of the state to achieve good production of agricultural output, as the problems with crops, livestock and diseases that shown with Cassava Brown Strak, Cassava Mosaic, Maize Stalk Borer, Sriga and Banana Bacterial Wilt. All of these should be worked on and nourished by the state, through agricultural programs that stops the spread of diseases. This should be important at this stage by not only the Office of the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda. Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja should have used the institutions to find solutions to the added strains in the agricultural industries, together with one of his State Ministers.

That the Ministry of Agriculture and Hon. Ssempijja has been lacking guidance as well as funding, most been shown when the millions of affected citizens are the result of little or no plan on important industry as it is. Where so many work and could need state structures to help and guide. There are lacking instruments and use of government institutions to help out in the dire need. Even find out ways to stop the growing problems that makes such a big part of population affected. When a state has 26% of it affected by various issues and the State can find ways to sort it out, than that should be priority, not to buy airplanes and cut taxes for the MPs, but to fix the agricultural yields and water-irrigation that needs. Peace.

Reference:

A Publication of the Office of the Prime Minister – Department of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Management – “The Official Government of Uganda Inter- Ministerial/Agencies Monthly National Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning Bulletin

15th FEBRUARY to 15th MARCH 2017” Volume 01. Series No. 01. Issues No. 04.

Famine Hits Parts Of South Sudan (20.02.2017)

WFP South Sudan 2016

UN agencies warn that almost 5 million people urgently need food, agriculture and nutrition assistance.

JUBA, South Sudan, February 20, 2017 – War and a collapsing economy have left some 100,000 people facing starvation in parts of South Sudan where famine was declared today, three UN agencies warned. A further 1 million people are classified as being on the brink of famine.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) also warned that urgent action is needed to prevent more people from dying of hunger. If sustained and adequate assistance is delivered urgently, the hunger situation can be improved in the coming months and further suffering mitigated.

The total number of food insecure people is expected to rise to 5.5 million at the height of the lean season in July if nothing is done to curb the severity and spread of the food crisis.

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update released today by the government, the three agencies and other humanitarian partners, 4.9 million people – more than 40 percent of South Sudan’s population – are in need of urgent food, agriculture and nutrition assistance.

Unimpeded humanitarian access to everyone facing famine, or at risk of famine, is urgently needed to reverse the escalating catastrophe, the UN agencies urged. Further spread of famine can only be prevented if humanitarian assistance is scaled up and reaches the most vulnerable.

Famine is currently affecting parts of Unity State in the northern-central part of the country. A formal famine declaration means people have already started dying of hunger. The situation is the worst hunger catastrophe since fighting erupted more than three years ago.

“Famine has become a tragic reality in parts of South Sudan and our worst fears have been realised. Many families have exhausted every means they have to survive,” said FAO Representative in South Sudan Serge Tissot. “The people are predominantly farmers and war has disrupted agriculture. They’ve lost their livestock, even their farming tools. For months there has been a total reliance on whatever plants they can find and fish they can catch.”

Malnutrition is a major public health emergency, exacerbated by the widespread fighting, displacement, poor access to health services and low coverage of sanitation facilities. The IPC report estimates that 14 of the 23 assessed counties have global acute malnutrition (GAM) at or above the emergency threshold of 15 percent, with some areas as high as 42 percent.

“More than one million children are currently estimated to be acutely malnourished across South Sudan; over a quarter of a million children are already severely malnourished. If we do not reach these children with urgent aid many of them will die,” said Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative a.i in South Sudan. “We urge all parties to allow humanitarian organizations unrestricted access to the affected populations, so we can assist the most vulnerable and prevent yet another humanitarian catastrophe.”

“This famine is man-made. WFP and the entire humanitarian community have been trying with all our might to avoid this catastrophe, mounting a humanitarian response of a scale that quite frankly would have seemed impossible three years ago. But we have also warned that there is only so much that humanitarian assistance can achieve in the absence of meaningful peace and security, both for relief workers and the crisis-affected people they serve,” said WFP Country Director Joyce Luma. “We will continue doing everything we possibly can to hold off and reverse the spread of famine.”

Across the country, three years of conflict have severely undermined crop production and rural livelihoods. The upsurge in violence since July 2016 has further devastated food production, including in previously stable areas. Soaring inflation – up to 800 percent year-on-year – and market failure have also hit areas that traditionally rely on markets to meet food needs. Urban populations are also struggling to cope with massive price rises on basic food items.

FAO, UNICEF and WFP, with other partners, have conducted massive relief operations since the conflict began, and intensified those efforts throughout 2016 to mitigate the worst effects of the humanitarian crisis. In Northern Bahr El Ghazal state, among others, the IPC assessment team found that humanitarian relief had lessened the risk of famine there.

FAO has provided emergency livelihood kits to more than 2.3 million people to help them fish or plant vegetables. FAO has also vaccinated more than 6 million livestock such as goats and sheep to prevent further loss.

WFP continues to scale up its support in South Sudan as humanitarian needs increase, and plans to provide food and nutrition assistance to 4.1 million people through the hunger season in South Sudan this year. This includes lifesaving emergency food, cash and nutrition assistance for people displaced and affected by conflict, as well as community-based recovery or resilience programs and school meals.

In 2016, WFP reached a record 4 million people in South Sudan with food assistance — including cash assistance amounting to US$13.8 million, and more than 265,000 metric tons of food and nutrition supplies. It is the largest number of people assisted by WFP in South Sudan since independence, despite problems resulting from the challenging context.

UNICEF aims to treat 207,000 children for severe acute malnutrition in 2017. Working with over 40 partners and in close collaboration with WFP, UNICEF is supporting 620 outpatient therapeutic programme sites and about 50 inpatient therapeutic sites across the country to provide children with urgently needed treatment. Through a rapid response mechanism carried out jointly with WFP, UNICEF continues to reach communities in the most remote locations. These rapid response missions treat thousands of children for malnutrition as well as provide them with immunization services, safe water and sanitation which also prevents recurring malnutrition.

FAO reports on the souring food prices in the East African Countries!

eldoret-cereal-warehouse

“In pastoral areas of Kenya, Somalia and southeastern Ethiopia, the widespread drought had a severe impact on pasture and water availability, and prices of livestock sharply decreased in recent months to very low levels, as livestock body conditions dramatically deteriorated. In these areas, the resulting sharp decline of terms of trade for pastoralists is severely constraining food access for large numbers of households” (FAO, P: 10, 2017).

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has this month released a report that assessed the prices and the issues concerning food prices in the nations around the world. This is the droughts, lack of rain and the problems occurring after the El Nino that hit the African continent. Therefore, the sad reality with the influx of issues and variables, the food markets in different nations has hit a snag and they have gone up. At levels that are worrying, as the markets they haven’t had the same rise in added income compared to the prices of staple foods. This hits the poorest the most and gives them a harder day to day, as their added prices makes the cost of living even more turbulent and hazardous than it already is.

Like the Maize and Beans prices in Kenya:

“Maize prices increased in January by 9-14 percent in most monitored markets, as the output of the short rains harvest, currently underway in eastern and coastal lowlands, was sharply reduced due to insufficient rainfall. Prices of maize in January were 20-30 percent higher than 12 months earlier in several markets, also as a result of a below-average long rains harvest, recently completed in high potential western areas of the Rift Valley. Sustained imports from neighbouring Uganda contained the increased in maize prices. In drought affected coastal counties, sharper year-on-year price increases are recorded, and in December 2016 prices of maize in Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, Taraka Nithi and Embu counties were up to 40 percent higher than a year earlier. Prices of beans are also at high levels and in January they were up to 40 percent higher than their year-earlier levels. Most pastoral areas were affected by drought, and prices of livestock declined in recent months as animal body conditions deteriorated. For instance, in Marsabit, Mandera, Garissa and Tana River counties, prices of goats in December 2016 were 15-30 percent lower than 12 months earlier” (FAO, P: 3, 2017).

That the prices of maize had added about 20-30 percent in a year time is worrying for the region, as the Kenyan market and the current state before the elections. The Kenyan state is borrowing at a steady haste for bigger infrastructure investments, but isn’t using funds to secure the agricultural output. This is lacking initiative or use of government subsidises to secure enough production, as much as there are droughts that has hit areas, where the prices has risen as a cause of lacking output or none as the climate has deteriorating the soil. That not only Maize has risen on higher prices, also the hiking of prices of beans shows the incapacity of agricultural output in general and also securing cheap government imports.

Like the prices of Maize and Sorghum in Somalia:

“Prices of locally-produced maize and sorghum continued to soar in January as the output of the 2016/17 secondary deyr harvest was affected by a severe drought and is estimated at 25 percent of last five-year average. In Mogadishu, prices of coarse grains increased up to 35 percent. In most markets of key maize producing region of Lower Shabelle, maize prices surged in January by 32-41 percent. Overall, prices of coarse grains in January in key markets of central and southern Somalia were up to twice their levels of 12 months earlier. Prices are likely to further escalate in the coming months, as an earlier than usual stock depletion will be compounded by concerns over the performance of the 2017 gu harvest. In pastoral areas, drought caused shortages of grazing resources, with deterioration of livestock body conditions. Livestock prices sharply declined in recent months, especially in the south, and are at very low levels, up to 60 percent lower than 12 months earlier. As a result of declining livestock prices and increasing cereal prices, terms of trade for pastoralists sharply deteriorated over the last 12 months. The equivalent in maize of a medium size goat declined in Buale market from 114 kg January 2016 to just 30 kg in January 2017. The severe drought has also caused a sharp decline in milk production and surge in milk prices” (FAO, P: 5, 2017).

So Somalia who has just gone through an election, has had a heavy affected by the drought, as the grains and food production has been hit by it. As proven with the rising food prices in Mogadishu and the prices has doubled in Central and Southern Somalia, in only a year! That proves the dire food situation, as the fierce internal fighting, the federation food production combined with the military fighting together with a drought has the food markets and food productions. Therefore the citizens and farmers are the losers, as they cannot have peaceful production, lacking rains and also insecurity of their own safety. All these things combined with the uncertainty of the electorate and the new administration. The steady rise of food prices has surely hit a population that did not need another crisis.

Rising prices in South Sudan:

“In the capital, Juba, prices of sorghum and maize declined in January by 6 and 10 percent, respectively, partly as a result of the harvesting of 2016 second season crops in southern bi-modal rainfall areas, which improved the domestic supply situation. Prices of other staples, wheat flour, cassava and groundnuts, followed similar patterns. In markets located in central and northern uni-modal rainfall areas, prices of sorghum increased by 15-20 percent in December 2016 and January 2017, after having declined in previous months with the harvesting of 2016 crops. In January, food prices in nominal terms were between 2 and 4 times above their levels in January last year, due to insecurity, a tight supply situation, hyperinflation and a significant depreciation of the local currency” (FAO, P: 5, 2017).

In South Sudan the new crisis of internal battles hit, even after the long term peace-agreement was fresh and the battles that started in July 2016. The continued escalation has hit the country. South Sudan administration has been busy fighting the SPLM-IO. The SPLM-IO has also been busier fighting the SPLA/M. Therefore the engagement with trying to get people to live in peace and fresh produce to happen in the country has stopped. That together with the civil war the agricultural output has been lost with the fleeing civilians and burning villages. Therefore in this current state, the food prices rise as the lacking food stocks of internal produced are dwindling, as the state needs more import of foreign food. Not only the inflation rates of the currency, the food production has been unstable. Therefore the rising prices and the armed situation create the rise of food prices. So the stability of the nation will also secure the currency and also the agricultural output, as of now is more or less in need of food aid because of the current in-fighting and lack of government oversight. This is unhealthy and makes even the security of food into a limbo.

Rising prices of Maize in Uganda:

“Prices of maize followed a sustained upward trend in recent months, increasing in all monitored markets by 33-58 percent between August and December 2016. Subsequently, prices followed mixed trends in January, declining in the capital, Kampala, as the second season harvest increased supplies, remaining firm in Lira market, located in a major cereal producing area, and continuing to increase in Busia, a key cross-border hub with Kenya. Overall, maize prices in January were up to 75 percent higher than a year earlier and at near-record to record levels, as the upward pressure exerted on prices by a reduced second season harvest, affected by poor rainfall in southeastern parts bordering lake Victoria, was compounded by a reduced first season harvest gathered last June/July and by sustained export demand from neighbouring countries, mainly Kenya and South Sudan. In Kampala, prices of beans and cassava flour, important staples, are also at high levels, and in January they were about 25 percent higher than 12 months earlier” (FAO, P: 6, 2017).

Ugandan government has already showed lacking instruments to the current drought and the lesser output during the election and campaigning of the current leadership. This is proven now with the monetary issues that are in dire straight in republic. The proof of the rising prices as the export of maize and others to South Sudan, as the added refugees who also needs foods and are also supported aided food. The government needs to secure added food production and development of bigger yields of the staple foods. That the food prices have sky-rocketed as the region has all been hit in corridors and districts where the dried lands have killed of livestock and others. Government has showed lacking oversight and mechanism from the government has not helped the dry-lands and the aftermath. Because of this with the added strains of a cash-strapped government after a heavy-burden state after elections, has not stagnated or had initiatives to stop the growing prices of food.

Maize prices are rising also in Tanzania:

“Prices of maize continued to increase in January in all monitored markets, as production prospects for the vuli harvest, currently underway in northern and eastern bi-modal rainfall areas, are unfavourable due to poor and erratic rainfall. Further support to prices was provided by concerns over the performance of the msimu harvest, to be gathered from May in central and southern uni-modal rainfall areas, as early-season dryness affected planting operations and crop establishment. Prices of maize in January were almost twice their year-earlier levels in Arusha, located in the northeast, while they were about 25 percent higher than in January 2016 in Dar Es Salaam, the largest urban centre” (FAO, P: 6, 2017).

That President Magufuli and his party like to be the example of the East Africa. Here the Tanzanian government are delivering the same sort of levels of rising prices. The maize prices are affected by drought and the Tanzanian government also have had to take in the refugees from other nations of late. This together with the less rainfall has pushed the prices on maize in Tanzania. Certainly the prices that doubled shows signs of lacking agricultural output and less yields as the rains and drought has happen during the last 12 month.

The numbers of rising food prices together with the lacking yields shows the worrying signs of lesser rain and longer dry seasons. This all hurt the citizens and the customers in the central regions or in urban areas who buys the foods from the agricultural districts, as much as the violence and the crisis in South Sudan and long term effects of the civil war in Somalia. This happens after the drought and other political issues, together with little efforts to add the yields, shows in the rising prices of staple foods. So now the people have to pay more for the same food they would have bought last year, in some places not only 20% added, but up to double or tripled. This is certainly added strains on the personal economy of the citizens in these nations. Peace.

Reference:

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) – ‘Food Price Monitoring and Analysis – Bulletin’ (14.02.2017)

Somalia: Humanitarian Coordinator Warns of Possible Famine (03.02.2017)

Somalia Draught Quotes

Somalia is in the grip of an intense drought, induced by two consecutive seasons of poor rainfall.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, February 3, 2017 – The Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, warned today that unless a massive and urgent scale up of humanitarian assistance takes place in the coming weeks, famine could soon be a reality in some of the worst drought-affected areas in Somalia. During the launch of the latest food security and nutrition data in Mogadishu, he called for urgent efforts to avert famine.

Somalia is in the grip of an intense drought, induced by two consecutive seasons of poor rainfall. In the worst affected areas, inadequate rainfall and lack of water has wiped out crops and killed livestock, while communities are being forced to sell their assets, and borrow food and money to survive.

“This is the time to act to prevent another famine in Somalia. Building on the response to drought in 2016, we need to rapidly step up the humanitarian response to effectively respond to the extensive needs and avert a famine,” said Peter de Clercq. “If we do not scale up the drought response immediately, it will cost lives, further destroy livelihoods, and could undermine the pursuit of key State-building and peacebuilding initiatives. A drought – even one this severe – does not automatically have to mean catastrophe if we can respond early enough with timely support from the international community.”

According to the FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), the number of people in need of assistance has increased from five million in September to over 6.2 million now, more than half of the country’s population. This includes a drastic increase in the number of people in “crisis” and “emergency” from 1.1 million six months ago to a projected 3 million between February and June this year. The situation for children is especially grave. Some 363,000 acutely malnourished children are in need of critical nutrition support, including life-saving treatment for more than 71,000 severely malnourished children.

The levels of suffering in the country, triggered by protracted conflict, seasonal shocks and disease outbreaks, are typically hard to bear, but the impact of this drought represents a threat of a different scale and magnitude. “The situation we are starting to see today in many rural areas today, particularly Bay, Puntland, is starting to look worryingly like the run-up to famine in 2010-2011. Most striking is the pace, scale and geography of deterioration, and the potential for the situation to become much much worse,” said Richard Trenchard, the Food and Agriculture Organization Representative for Somalia. “Labour prices are collapsing; local food prices are rising; food availability is becoming patchy; animal deaths are increasing; and malnutrition rates are rising, especially among children. Together, these are all signs that we are entering a phase that can lead to catastrophe.”

Somalia experienced the worst famine of the twenty-first century in 2011, affecting an estimated four million people, three-quarters of a million of whom faced famine conditions. The famine resulted in the loss of more than a quarter a million lives.

South Sudan: Escalating food crisis in 2017, FAO warns (07.11.2016)

WFP South Sudan 2016

07/11/2016: An increasing number of South Sudanese will continue to face difficulty in meeting daily food needs in the coming months despite harvests, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has warned.

The end of the lean season and start of harvests in South Sudan are traditionally associated with a reduction in food insecurity due to more food stocks and lower food prices in the markets, bringing much needed relief. According to recent FAO assessments, the number of severely food insecure people at this time is 3.7 million people – 31 percent of the country’s estimated population and an increase of an overall 1 million people compared to the same period last year.

Though harvests have provided some reprieve, FAO experts warn that the benefits will be short lived as local stocks will deplete rapidly. Following seasonal patterns food insecurity levels in 2017 is destined to rapidly deteriorate to massive proportions. The risk of famine is increasingly real, especially for South Sudan’s most vulnerable communities.

“The renewed violence has had severe repercussions on agricultural production and stability needs to be restored to enable farmers to return to their fields. We are seeing an unprecedented number of food insecure people at harvest time and many more people at risk of starvation in the months to come as stocks run out. There is a need to act now to prevent a catastrophe,” warns Serge Tissot, FAO Representative.

The Equatoria region which is responsible for over half of the country’s net cereal production has been severely impacted by the recent violence. In active conflict areas, an estimated 50 percent of all harvests have been lost and even more farmers were unable to plant for the second season due to insecurity. The displacement of people from those areas is also due to have profound effects on agricultural production, FAO experts warn.

Moreover, of grave concern is the most fragile areas Northern Bahr el Ghazal where the structural drivers of food insecurity – including the protracted economic crisis, market failure and the loss or depletion of livelihood assets – have continued to escalate. FAO’s harvest assessments findings show that farmers in this area have produced less than last year, with some areas being hard-hit by flooding and dry spells, raising their vulnerability. The report highlights Aweil East where sorghum production almost halved, dropping from 0.9 to 0.5 tonnes.

Since the outbreak of fighting in South Sudan’s capital Juba and other parts of the country, cereal prices have increased by more than 500 percent compared to the same period last year. Trade has been crippled by rampant insecurity along the main trade routes and traders’ inability to access hard currency for imports forcing them to close-down their businesses.

“With the market collapsing and many families having little to no safety nets to cope, we must empower them with the means to produce their own food. With this we want to structurally strengthen their livelihoods and boost their resilience,” explains Tissot, FAO Representative.

During the forthcoming dry season campaign, FAO aims to target 1.2 million people with distributions of vegetable and fishing kits and provision of trainings to farmers on modern farming techniques to increase yields. At the same time, FAO is preparing to meet the country’s greatest needs for the main planting season; this includes the provision of much needed agricultural inputs so that the most vulnerable can produce their own food. For this to happen, the food agency requires US $ 28 million by the end of the year.

FAO’s Situation Report on South Sudan (24.10.2016)

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South Sudan: UNICEF sounds alarm on ‘catastrophic’ food insecurity in country (06.08.2016)

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5 August 2016 The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today that it is responding to a growing food security emergency causing malnutrition in children in both rural and urban areas of crisis-gripped South Sudan.

“The situation in South Sudan is catastrophic, and even more so for children,” UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac told a news briefing in Geneva, where he also pointed out that so far this year, the agency has treated 120,000 children under age five for severe malnutrition; a nearly 50 per cent increase over the same period in 2015.

Initially, UNICEF had been planning to provide support to 166,000 children in 2016, but that figure has been revised to more than 250,000, he added.

Seven out of the country’s 10 states have reached the malnutrition-rate-emergency threshold of 15 per cent, while in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, the malnutrition rate stands at 33 per cent, he explained.

UNICEF has also noted a sharp rise in malnutrition in South Sudan’s urban areas, including the capital, Juba, where the rates of children admitted for malnutrition to UNICEF-supported Al-Sabbah children’s hospitals were some 20 per cent higher in the first six months of 2016 than for the same period last year. The spokesperson cited the country’s inflation rate as one of the main reasons for the high increase, explaining that it made basic household staples too expensive for many families.

Mr. Boulierac stated that while UNICEF could not provide figures of children dying from starvation, “one quarter of a million children in South Sudan are facing severe malnutrition.”

According to the spokesperson, with a number of roads inaccessible, the ongoing conflict has further limited UNICEF’s ability to respond – leaving, in the most urgent cases, the more expensive option of air transport for delivering supplies.

Additionally, Mr. Boulierac stressed that “due to insecurity and the rainy season, UNICEF staff in South Sudan are unable to be fully mobile and deliver their goods and services.”

Mr. Boulierac said that of the $154.5 million UNICEF needs for South Sudan in 2016, the Fund had, to date, received only $52 million to assist with water and sanitation; child support services; nutrition; health; and education.

He indicated that more than 900,000 children have been displaced in the country, which – with 1.8 million children, or 51 per cent of school-age youngsters out of school – also had the highest proportion of out-of-school children in the world.

“An estimated 16,000 children had been recruited by armed groups, and there were concerns that the renewed violence would lead to a further expansion of that practice,” explained the spokesperson.

He also called attention to the fact that sexual violence and rape had been used as a weapon of war, saying “all the ingredients were there to be extremely concerned.”

Between 8 and 25 July, at least 72 civilian deaths and 217 cases of sexual violence had been documented in Juba alone.

The spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), William Spindler, added that the total number of South Sudanese refugees in the region stood at 917,418 – most of whom are sheltering in Uganda.

The recent fighting in South Sudan between rival forces – the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and the SPLA in Opposition backing First Vice-President Riek Machar – erupted in and around Juba, on 7 July, close to the fifth anniversary of its independence.

The young country has faced ongoing challenges since a political face-off between the two leaders erupted into conflict in December 2013. The crisis has produced one of the world’s worst displacement situations with immense suffering for civilians.

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