Thirty-four countries in distress food

-bebe-madina-biftu-age-14Thirty-four countries, including 27 in Africa are currently in need of food assistance to feed their people, because of drought, floods and civil unrest, according to a UN agency.

Since last December, the number rose from 33 to 34 with the addition of Swaziland.

The quarterly report of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), released Wednesday, said that the El Nino-related drought has “greatly reduced” agricultural production prospects in 2016 in southern Africa. Estimates of the harvest in Morocco and Algeria have also been revised downwards because of drought conditions in the Maghreb.

In the Central American and Caribbean regions, the main planting season could suffer for the third consecutive year “dry conditions associated with El Nino,” said FAO.

Furthermore, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and the Central African Republic, the agricultural sector “has paid a heavy price to persistent conflict, which has worsened the humanitarian crisis,” said the FAO. In most cases, the impact of conflict spreads to neighboring countries, such as Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to refugee populations.

FAO plans for now a global production of 723 million tonnes of wheat in 2016, 10 million less than the record production in 2015.

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