Conflict and Ebola outbreak threaten food security in Africa

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A woman farmer in Ganta, Liberia. Photo: UNMIL/Christophe Herwig

The outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in West Africa and conflict in South Sudan are causing food shortages, according to the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Kanayo Nwanze told reporters in New York on Monday that in South Sudan where 1.7 million people have been displaced by conflict, there is concern that famine will strike.

He pointed out that the conflict there has severely affected food production, disrupted markets and caused a spike in food prices.

In Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the countries hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak, fear and panic have caused disruption in food production, Mr Nwanze said.

"Farmers are leaving their crops to rot as they stay home in fear. In Sierra Leone, up to 40 per cent of farms have been abandoned in the worst affected areas. Meanwhile in Senegal and other countries in West Africa there are already food shortages because regional trade has been disrupted. Preliminary reports suggest that trade volume in these markets is half of what it was at this time last year." (24")

According to the World Health Organization, there are now close to 8,400 cases of Ebola and more than 4,000 people have died from the deadly disease.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

Duration: 1’35″

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