Food distribution in Somali Region, Ethiopia.
Photo: ©FAO/IFAD/WFP/Michael Tewe


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Dry weather and protracted conflicts are causing food insecurity, FAO says, stating that more than forty countries are in need of external assistance for food, most of them in Africa.

Some 41 countries continue to be in need of external assistance for food, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported in September 2019. FAO says that conflicts act as the primary cause of high levels of food insecurity and adverse weather conditions - particularly rainfall shortages in Africa - acutely affect food availability and access for millions of people.

The countries on the list, which include 31 in Africa, remained unchanged over the last six months. The 41 countries currently in need of external food assistance are: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of 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, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Venezuela, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, cereal harvests promise to be strong in several countries of Latin America and Asia, while improved security conditions have helped boost crop production in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Conflicts drive hunger

About half of the 41 countries needing external assistance for food are home to civil unrest or full-fledged conflict, while others face severe resource strains due to large influxes of refugees from neighbouring countries experiencing unrest.

Conflict and civil insecurity are primary drivers of food insecurity in Afghanistan, South Sudan, Syria, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen and parts of Myanmar and Nigeria.
In Venezuela, hyperinflation has severely eroded local purchasing power, generating acute constraints on households' access to food, while cereal production is expected to decline due to a lack of agricultural inputs. 

East Africa suffer from scarcity of rains

Poor precipitation, including severe dryness in East Africa, is exacerbating the food insecurity situation in several countries in the region.

Overall cereal output in East Africa in 2019 is forecast to drop by 5.6 per cent on 2018, with the sharpest output contractions expected to be recorded in Kenya and the Sudan.

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