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Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Questions and Answers on Sahel and Food Insecurity

The Sahel is a belt of mainly arid and semi-arid land that stretches across Africa from Cape Verde in the west to Sudan in the east, covering parts of Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Many of these countries are threatened by food insecurity, particularly Niger and Chad, whose governments have declared an emergency and asked for international assistance.

What are the underlying causes of the food crisis in Sahel?

The Sahel is one of the poorest regions in the world. Access to clean water, food, education and health services is very limited. Extensive poverty and lack of infrastructure and basic services mean that large parts of the population are extremely vulnerable to external shocks such as climate change and high food prices.. The food crisis in the region has been deepening due to the shortfall in food production as a result of the erratic rains at the end of 2009. High food prices and a reduction of remittances sent home by expatriate worker are also contributing factors. For pastoralists and agro-pastoralists the 2009/2010 season has been particularly damaging to their livestock and crops, leaving them highly vulnerable to food insecurity.

Source: European Commission