FEWS NET Executive Overview of Food Security 31 Dec 2008

Report
from Famine Early Warning System Network
Published on 31 Dec 2008 View Original
EAST AFRICA: October- December rains began on time but ended early in south- central Somalia, northeastern and southeastern Kenya, and in parts of southeastern Ethiopia, negatively affecting crop prospects and pasture in these areas. In south- central Soma lia, increased civil insecurity and rampant sea piracy also continue to exacerbate existing food insecurity through displacement, dis ruption of both commercial and humanitarian food imports, and restrictions on food access among already impoverished popula tions. Persistent civil insecurity and the associated market disrup tions also continue to negatively impact food security in parts of Ethiopia's Somali Region. In addition, unusually high rates of urban food insecurity have been observed in the region as a result of high food costs. Overall, an estimated 15 to 18 million people in East Africa require emergency assistance.

HAITI: Food security conditions in Haiti have stabilized three months after a series of storms in August and September 2008. Roughly half of the country is expected to benefit from at least average harvests (December- March) and declines in international food prices suggest that further deteriorations in food security are unlikely, given Haiti's heavy dependence on food imports. How ever, the joint appeal released earlier this year remains under funded and additional resources are needed to support recovery and development activities.

WEST AFRICA: Following favorable agro- climatic conditions and both government and market incentives for production, record crop yields have been recorded in the Sahel and in West Africa for the 2008/09 season. Overall, cereal production in the region is esti mated at 54 million tons. As a result, food prices have begun to decline across the region, although they remain above the five year average in some markets. Despite the good harvest however, pockets of food insecurity remain. For example, in Chad, increased civil insecurity since August has constrained humanitarian access and affected crop production.

ZIMBABWE: The level of food insecurity continues to increase as the hunger season nears its peak. The ability to sell food in foreign currency has improved food availability, particularly in urban areas, as the level of informal food imports, now legal, rises to meet some of the gap left by the weak performance of formal commer cial imports. However, those without access to foreign currency and with only limited access to the rapidly depreciating local cur rency face daily challenges accessing adequate food.