The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in its recent report says Nigeria and 28 other African countries currently need external food aid.
FAO said the situation in those countries, namely Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea and Kenya had remained unchanged from November 2017.
In its “Crop Prospects and Food Situation” report, the UN agency listed others as Nigeria, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Beyond Africa, the agency’s report identified Afghanistan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Haiti, Iraq, Myanmar, Syria, Pakistan and Yemen as countries in urgent need of food aid.
The report identified conflicts and weather patterns as militating factors against food security, while irregular rains and rising price of cereals made Eastern Africa vulnerable to hunger.
The report further stated that there was continued need for humanitarian assistance for many people in East African and Near East countries, adding that civil war and insecurity accounted for hunger in 16 of those countries, ranging from Burundi to Yemen.
According to FAO, irregular rains had become a threat to food security in Southern and Eastern Africa, where four consecutive droughts had affected agricultural activities in many rural households.
The report said there was a 7.2 per cent drop in cereal production in East Africa, leading to stress in countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, DRC, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
It noted that the effect of unfavourable seasonal rains in southern Madagascar would be reduced crop yields in 2018, adding that with historically high prices of rice, food security would be threatened in the southern parts of the country.
In Southern Africa, crop production would fall from the 2017’s record highs raising concerns about food security, which the UN agency flagged in a Special Alert issued on February 26.