Conflict-ridden Countries Expected to Continue to Suffer from Food Insecurity as Global Crop Output Rises
UN Photo/Gill Fickling
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The FAO quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation Report forecasts record cereal harvests in 2017.

A large share of the increase is expected to come from low-income and food deficient countries.

Nonetheless, the publication expects that people in countries affected by conflict and natural disasters will continue to suffer from food insecurity.

21 September 2017: The quarterly food production update published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) estimates that grain harvests are set to rebound in many low-income and food-deficient countries. At the same time, the number of countries requiring external food support remains unchanged at 37.

On the heels of the 2017 report on the State of Food and Nutrition Security in the World, which found that the number of hungry people has increased in 2016 for first time in a decade, the FAO’s quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation Report provides a mixed outlook. While the publication notes that recent natural events including hurricanes in the Caribbean and floods in West Africa are likely to affect local harvests, global prospects are positive.

Global cereal production in 2017 is expected to reach record levels at 2,611 million tons, an increase of 0.1% over 2016. Much of the increase is forecast to come from a 2.2% increase in low-income and food deficient countries. This includes a prospective “rebound” of aggregate African output by 10% after depressed harvests in 2016 due to widespread floods and droughts caused by the weather phenomenon El Niño.

On the other hand, the publication lists 37 countries that will continue to rely on external food support. Despite the projected increase in food production in some of these countries, food security will continue to be hampered by conflicts and related displacement and civil insecurity, as well as the aftershocks of natural disasters. Countries particularly affected by these conditions include: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, southern Ethiopia, Iraq, northern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The update confirms trends identified in FAOs Global Food Price Index earlier this month which reported an overall drop in global food prices by 1.3% driven by the prospect of record cereal harvests and larger grain inventories in many regions of the world. [FAO Press Release. Crop Prospects and Food Situation. 21 September 2017][Crop Prospects and Food Situation. September 2017][FAO Press Release. Food Price Index. 7 September 2017][FAO Food Price Index. September 2017]

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