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Food shortages hit Madagascar

09 October 2013, 19:03

Rome - Almost a fifth of the people of the Indian Ocean country of Madagascar do not have enough food after a poor harvest, two UN agencies said on Wednesday.

Production of staple crops, such as rice and maize, had been "badly hit by erratic weather and a locust invasion" and as many as 4 million people are seeing food shortages, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Food Programme said.

"The south of the island - already a chronically food-insecure area - has been particularly badly affected," the Rome-based agencies said.

The warning came ahead of 25 October presidential elections, the first poll since a 2009 military-backed coup sent the country into political chaos and resulted in donors cutting funding.

Madagascar, an impoverished and underdeveloped country of 22.5 million people, has also been badly affected by natural disasters in recent years.

A further 9.6 million people are at risk of food shortages "as food prices increase during the October-March lean season when crops are planted but not yet harvested", the agencies said. They were also concerned by the upcoming cyclone season, running from November to April.



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