News / Africa

    Libyan Crisis Threatens Regional Food Security

    Migrant workers who used to work in Libya and fled the recent unrest in the country, are seen in a refugee camp at the Tunisia-Libyan border, in Ras Ajdir, Tunisia, March 9, 2011,. (AP Image)
    Migrant workers who used to work in Libya and fled the recent unrest in the country, are seen in a refugee camp at the Tunisia-Libyan border, in Ras Ajdir, Tunisia, March 9, 2011,. (AP Image)

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Joe DeCapua

    The crisis in Libya could put food security at risk, not only in Libya, but in neighboring countries as well.

    Daniele Donati, chief of the Emergency Operations Service for the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, says, “They employ a lot of workers from neighboring countries.  And these people, they are now fleeing the country and they are back in their own countries of origin, mainly Egypt, Tunisia, to some extent also Niger and Algeria.”

    Donati says it’s important to remember that the regional political turmoil now underway is due in part to what he calls “soaring food prices.”

    He warns, “This kind of social instability is not completely over.  And it’s normally considered a symptom of a sort of a malaise, to use a French word.  Something like social fever, if you see what I mean.”

    Migrant workers

    Migrant workers in Libya have played a large role in the country’s food production.

    “The largest proportion of the agricultural workers in Libya [were] all from Egypt.  Traditionally, the Libyan people, rural people, are pastoralists, rather than agriculturalists.  They are more concentrated on livestock than crops.  So the field workers are all from the neighbor countries and they left in large part,” he says.

    The FAO is unable to make a full assessment of the situation in Libya because it lacks access to all parts of the country.

    Donati says, “We need to assess a number of key variables.  But the presence of these…agricultural workers is extremely important to assess the capacity of the country to produce that part of the food budget that’s normally domestically produced.”

    Imports

    The U.N. agency says the region heavily depends on cereal imports.

    “The different coastal countries in the Maghreb affected by this crisis, namely Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, they’re all characterized by a very heavy dependency [on] food imports, which doesn’t mean that agriculture is not important in their country.  It means agriculture in these countries is limited in terms of volume, but it’s key and strategic to feed people,” he says.

    Donati estimates Libya’s dependence on imports to be as high as 80 percent.

    “They import inflation.  If you have high food prices on international markets and your agricultural sector requires an integration of 80 percent to cover the consumption needs in the country, you systematically import inflation, increasing prices.  The price of maize on the international markets in the recent months has increased between 75 and 85 percent,” he says.

    He adds that people, who depend on maize flour, have a “serious problem.”

    The FAO says it plans to distribute vegetable seeds along with food aid in Libya in areas around cities and coasts.  The goal is to “boost consumption of fresh food and micronutrient intake.”

    You May Like

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora