Food security situation in Sahel remains dire: FAO

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Improved seed is distributed to farmers in the Sahel. [FAO Photo]

About 11 million people in the Sahel region of Africa still don't have enough food to meet their basic needs, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on Wednesday.

FAO says the semi-arid region, which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea between the Sahara desert to the north and the Savannah to the south is facing a dire food security situation.

It points out that the lean season, also called the hunger season, came earlier than usual this year as a result of the negative effects of last year's crisis on the poorest households.

FAO says families were forced to sell their cereals to pay their debts; they lost livestock and had low livestock birth rates.

Families that have mostly exhausted their food stocks are obliged to buy food at the market just as food prices are high, the agency adds.

It says it is particularly concerned about the situation in northern Mali, northern Nigeria and neighbouring countries where price of coarse grains such as sorghum, millet and maize continues to increase.

FAO is appealing to the international community to increase funding for aid to the most vulnerable farmers and herders in the Sahel region.

It says that despite its appeal for just over $113 million this year to support almost 6 million vulnerable people in the Sahel, only $19.4 million has been received, about 17 percent of the total.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’14″

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