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Despite increased food production, Sudan still needs help to feed 2 million, UN says

Despite increased food production, Sudan still needs help to feed 2 million, UN says

WFP food distribution
Despite an overall increase in food production, Sudan faces severe shortages in the southern and western parts of the country and will need help to feed about 2 million people in the coming year, the United Nations said today.

About 155,000 tonnes of food assistance will be needed to ward off severe deficits that are anticipated for displaced populations in parts of southern Sudan, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said in a joint statement issued in Rome. Shortages are also expected in the western States of Darfur and Kordofan and Red Sea State, where dry spells and early cessation of rain have resulted in the third consecutive reduced crop.

An FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission, which visited Sudan last fall, found that cereal production in 2001 was about 4.8 million tonnes, up 38 per cent from 2000 and 9 per cent above the average of the preceding five years. The agencies attributed the increase to Government encouragement and favourable weather in many regions.

Although the availability of cereals in 2002 will be markedly improved, the Mission warned that the sharp fall in sorghum prices in major producing areas could result in financial ruin for farmers and substantial reductions in area planted next year.

“Food aid requirements should be procured locally to the extent possible. Rapid intervention in moving grain from surplus to deficit accessible areas is vital to help vulnerable groups and to stabilize prices,” the UN agencies said.