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Crop Prospects For Sub-Saharan Africa - 2003-12-09

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has released a new report forecasting the crop prospects for sub-Saharan Africa. It says although some regions “can expect bumper crops, food shortages are forecast in 23 countries.” The FAO’s Africa Report is published three times each year.

Dr. Shukri Ahmed is an economist for the UN agency and helped write the report. From Rome, he spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about its regional findings.

In East Africa, “total cereal output is expected to increase. However, the impact of successive droughts in parts of Somalia and southeastern Ethiopia is cause for serious concern.” But in West Africa, a bumper crop is expected in the Sahel. Nevertheless, conflict or post conflict conditions are expected to affect food security in Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Central Africa is also suffers the effects of conflict. Food production in the Central Africa Republic is not expected to increase this year. And insecurity is “hampering food production” in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.”

And while normal weather conditions are forecast for southern Africa, several countries “are threatened by serious food shortages.” These include Zimbabwe, Angola and Madagascar. Adding to the problem is HIV/AIDS, which has claimed the lives of many southern Africa farmers.