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Welthungerhilfe (German Agro Action): Food crisis in other Sahel countries as well

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Bonn, 21 July 2005. In view of the emergency situation in Niger, German Agro Action has warned against neglecting other Sahel countries. Mali, Mauritania or Burkina Faso are also facing critical situations with respect to the food supply there, reports Matthias Mogge, Mali expert at German Agro Action. On top of the periodically recurring droughts in the Sahel, the situation has worsened as a result of a destructive locust plague last year.
German Agro Action is preparing together with its Irish partner organisation Concern to distribute foodstuffs in Niger. To this end it is despatching two staff members in its task force to the West African country.

German Agro Action is currently supporting 300,000 people in need in Mali. "Food supplies are exhausted", according to Mogge. "The people are living off of wild grain and fruit. But the food is not nutritious enough especially older people and children are in a weakened state." Moreover, farmers lack the strength and energy they need to tend their fields up until the harvest in October.

According to the most recent figures, Mali faces a shortage of about 350,000 tons of grain. German Agro Action has purchased 2,700 tons of grain in areas producing surpluses to distribute it free of charge or at subsidised prices. The proceeds from the sale will be used for long term food-security projects in areas facing chronic shortages of foodstuffs.

Projects include the establishment of community grain storage sites to stock up on supplies in preparation for periods of drought. Projects are also aiming at curbing soil erosion by building stone walls.

Matthias Mogge, Mali expert at German Agro Action, is available for interviews on request.