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Crop Biotech Update

Measures Identified for Immediate Reprieve of Hunger in the Horn of Africa

August 26, 2011

A technical meeting was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome last 18 August 2011 to review both immediate as well as longer-term responses to the food and hunger crisis that affect the countries in the Horn of Africa, comprised of Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan and Uganda. Drought, conflict and high food prices were identified as the causes of the existing food crisis in the region. However, underinvestment in agriculture and inadequate management of natural resources in these regions made them vulnerable to these stresses.

Agricultural ministers in these countries, ministers and representatives of FAO Member nations, the African Union, the Presidency of the G20 (France), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Secretary-General representative, Oxfam and many other international and civil society organizations participated in the meeting and came up with specific immediate-term measures such as:

  • Ensuring that lifesaving food assistance needs are met and that nutrition support is scaled up
  • Saving surviving livestock to protect the food security of pastoralists
  • Saving the forthcoming planting season starting in October ensuring that farmers have access to inputs such as seeds, fertilizer, and irrigation water
  • Expanding cash-for-work programs to allow people to buy food at local markets and prevent the sale of assets

For details on the news and other recommended action plan, see http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/86848/icode/