Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Ebola threatens food security in West Africa - FAO

02 September 2014, 21:00

Rome - The world's worst Ebola epidemic has put harvests at risk and sent food prices soaring in West Africa, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Tuesday, warning the problem would intensify in coming months.

The FAO issued a special alert for Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three countries most affected by the outbreak, which has killed around 1,550 people since the virus was detected in the remote jungles of southeastern Guinea in March.

Restrictions on people's movements and the establishment of quarantine zones to contain the spread of the hemorrhagic fever has led to panic buying, food shortages and price hikes in countries ill-prepared to absorb the shock.

"Even prior to the Ebola outbreak, households in some of the most affected areas were spending up to 80 percent of their incomes on food," said Vincent Martin, head of an FAO unit in Dakar which is coordinating the agency's response.

"Now these latest price spikes are effectively putting food completely out of their reach," Martin said in a statement, adding the food crisis could hinder containment of the disease, which is typically spread via the bodily fluids of the sick.

Rice and maize production will be scaled back during the fast-approaching main harvest season as migration and movement restrictions cause labour shortages on farms, FAO said.

Cash crops like palm oil, cocoa and rubber will be seriously affected, squeezing the purchasing power of many families, who will also lose income and nutrition due to the ban on bush meat.

Border crossing closures and the reduction of trade through seaports have tightened food supplies in the three countries, which are all net cereal importers, and propelled prices upwards, exacerbated by higher transport costs.

The U.N. World Food Programme and FAO have approved an emergency programme to deliver 65,000 tonnes of food to 1.3 million people affected by Ebola over a three-month period.

The price of cassava at a market in the Liberian capital Monrovia rose 150 percent in the first weeks of August, the FAO said, adding that currency depreciation in Sierra Leone and Liberia was likely to force prices up further.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Types of men that are a waste of ...

Most women end up heartbroken because they were trying to convince the wrong man to be in a relationship/ marriage. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Cheating is hardwork!

Cheating, although enjoyable by the person doing it initially, it gets to a point they start realizing that it was never even worth it. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Dating that one person that socie...

Works at a massage parlour. Works at Millionaires Club (that one on Baricho road) - you know the ones I am talking about. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
What do men mean when they say th...

As much as men think they are the ones confused by relationships, they have a better idea of it than most women actually do. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
ODM rebels sweat in Kisii as Oran...

ODM rebels are sweating in Kisii after the Orange Party won by elections despite concerted efforts by the ruling Jubilee Party to win the elections. Read more...