FAO warns 34 African nations face crop shortages, food insecurity
In Mali, it’s the security crisis that’s contributing to the population’s hunger. In Kenya, a combination of floods and the ongoing fight against desert locusts are driving food insecurity, while Zimbabwe continues to struggle with high food prices in an uncertain economy.
All told there are 34 African nations that face crop shortages and economic challenges, and require food assistance, according to a quarterly report from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in terms of income losses, is an important driver of the levels of global food insecurity, exacerbating and intensifying already fragile conditions,” said the United Nations food agency. “Conflicts, weather events and pests remain critical factors underpinning the high levels of severe food insecurity.”
The continent’s overall production of cereal crops will still rise for 2020 and holds at 4 percent higher than the five-year average, but that glimmer of good news is driven almost entirely by favorable conditions in southern Africa. Malawi, Lesotho, Madagascar and Mozambique all saw better growing conditions in the latter half of the year but that hasn’t erased the need, particularly in conflict zones like Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province.
That said, the most significant COVID-related economic decline is forecast in Zimbabwe, with concern over downturns expected in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
Across northern Africa, it’s drought that is affecting crops in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and the western part of Libya.
“The largest production decline was recorded in Morocco, which experienced drought conditions for most of the season,” said FAO. The total cereal production is estimated at 3.4 million tons, almost 40 percent lower than the 2019 harvest and almost 60 percent below the five-year average.
To view the complete FAO report, check this link.