The number of countries in need of food assistance has risen thanks to conflict and climate shocks
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations’ latest Crop Prospects and Food Situation report reveals that food insecurity has increased in 2018 due to conflict and adverse weather.
An additional 2 countries have been added to the list of those in need of external food assistance compared to FAO’s early report, the list now contains 39 countries. The new additions are Cabo Verde and Senegal.
The report estimates that 35% of the population of Cabo Verde requires food assistance following a poor cropping season, although this is expected to fall by a half as the summer rainy season begins. Similarly, poor pastoral conditions in Senegal have forced 750,000 people to need assistance.
No country has exited the list, indicating how persistent climate shocks and conflict are in damaging food security. The list is comprised primarily of African countries; 31 countries are African, 7 are in Asia and 1 is in the Americas, Haiti.
The full list of countries in need are: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Democratic People's Republic of Korea , Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
One of the most severely affected countries is South Sudan where 7.1 million people are predicted to need food assistance.
Civil war and insecurity has been a key driver of food shortages in Africa and the Middle East, the subsequent displacement has also effected food security as increasing strain is placed on neighbouring countries to support displaced people.
Central Africa has also been experiencing an increase in conflict, notably Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Conflict in Nigeria and Libya has also led to a declining demand for meat, one of the reasons for the drastic drop in incomes for pastoralists in the region.
The latest forecast from FAO for world cereal production in 2018 predicts a 1.5% drop from 2017, with greatest declines occurring in Southern Africa and the Americas.
Recent rainfall in East Africa is expected to boost crop production; however, it has displaced over 800,000 across Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.
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Image credit: FAO