Latest FEWS Net Alerts Report Food Crises in Several Countries
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Several African countries are currently experiencing acute or worsening food insecurity, according to FEWS Net.
In Nigeria, ongoing conflict, poor macroeconomic conditions, and low rainfall in some areas are driving food security concerns. While the inflation rate dropped by .05 percent in April, it remains high after the closure of the country’s land borders 20 months ago in an effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Nigeria’s currency also continues to depreciate, and there is some speculation that the Central Bank plans to unify the multiple exchange rate. Ongoing conflict and banditry in several regions of the country have displaced populations and reduced livelihoods. The southwestern region has experienced rainfall deficits that have harmed newly planted staple crops, including maize, although FEWS Net reports that these will likely be replanted in the coming weeks. All these conditions have driven food prices up and reduced households’ purchasing power and market access.
The Tigray region of Ethiopia is expected to continue experiencing IPC Phase 3 and 4 (Crisis and Emergency)-level food insecurity in the coming months, with some areas falling into Phase 5 (Catastrophe). As of April, more than 1.6 million people have been displaced in the Tigray region, and many of them are now facing acute malnutrition and increased mortality rates.
Ethiopia has also experienced erratic and insufficient rainfall, which has delayed planting in some areas. The poor cropping conditions have also impacted pasture availability and caused declines in livestock body conditions and milk production. As a result, many pastoral households are facing reduced purchasing power, as livestock prices have not kept pace with rapidly rising staple food prices. Inflation rates in Ethiopia also remain high at 19.2 percent in April, and the Ethiopian currency continues to depreciate.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano has displaced large populations and caused some market disruptions. The country also faces ongoing conflict in the eastern regions, causing further population displacements. Conflict has also led to below normal harvests in some areas as farm activities have been disrupted. Finally, while the government has started to lift measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, households engaged in cross-border petty trade continue to face reduced livelihoods due to land border restrictions.
Sudan will likely require significant emergency humanitarian aid through the coming lean season. Both food and transportation costs are extremely high, with household purchasing power falling as a result. Poor macroeconomic conditions and ongoing conflicts are behind the rising prices. Retail prices of sorghum and millet increased between 5 and 15 percent between April and May. While the price of locally produced wheat remained relatively stable over the same period, cereal prices remain almost double their 2020 levels and 400-500 percent above their five-year average.
South Sudan continues to suffer from one of the world’s worst food security emergencies, as reported in the 20201 Global Report on Food Crises. FEWS Net is calling for urgent humanitarian assistance through the coming months.