With the price of basic food items on the rise, global policymakers are again faced with the need to protect the world’s most vulnerable populations. Women and young children tend to be most negatively impacted by sharp increases in the price of food. However, while extensive research has been conducted on the causes and consequences of the 2007-08 food price crisis, little of that research has focused specifically on the impact of the crisis on women, and whether the impact differs for women compared to men.

FEWS NET has released a food security alert for West Africa to establish a context for regional agricultural production and food security prospects for the 2011/12 consumption year. The report's key messages include:

In the most likely scenario, crop production in the region will be less than last year’s bumper harvest (59 million tons) but near the 2005/06-2009/10 average (~50 million tons).

The impact of the unequal distribution of agricultural production is not yet clear. However, FEWS NET’s analysis suggests that food access will remain near average at the regional level.

The HarvestChoice AgMarketFinder Tool is a collaborative development innovation from IFPRI, Esri, and SpatialDev.

A Commentary by Maximo Torero

Thailand’s rice exporters are warning that the country’s 2012 rice exports could drop by as much as 30-40 percent as the result of a proposed government policy that would guarantee fixed prices for both plain white rice and jasmine rice. The Pheu Thai Party, which was elected into power in July, has promised farmers fixed prices of 15,000 baht ($US 500) per ton for plain white rice and 20,000 baht (US$ 667) per ton for jasmine rice.

According to FEWS NET, the prevalence of malnutrition and the rate of crude mortality have surpassed famine thresholds in the Bay Region of southern Somalia. A combination of poor crop production and deteriorating purchasing power has pushed poor households in this region into massive food deficits. Due to this rapidly deteriorating situation, the FAO-managed Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit and FEWS NET have now classified this region as IPC Phase 5 Famine.

After two consecutive seasons of poor rainfall, the Horn of Africa is experiencing the region's worst drought in 60 years. Drought conditions have led to widespread crop failure and livestock deaths, as well as increasing food prices. Somalia now faces famine conditions in the southern part of the country.

Photo: © Curt Carnemark / World Bank

Keep up to date on the latest reports from FAO GIEWS on the ongoing food security crisis in the Horn of Africa. This page will be regularly updated with new information and resources released by GIEWS.

Drought-related Food Insecurity: A Focus on the Horn of Africa
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Famine Thresholds Surpassed in Somalia

Curt Carnemark @ World Bank

FEWS NET has just released an alert indicating that the prevalance of acute malnutrition and rates of crude mortality have surpassed famine thresholds in three additional areas of Somalia. With tens of thousands of deaths having already occurred, the famine is only expected to spread in the coming weeks and is likely to persist until at least December 2011.

Download the full report.

As the food security emergency in the Horn of Africa continues, FEWS NET has compiled a wide-ranging collection of information and resources related to the ongoing drought, famine declaration, and causes behind the crisis.

Overall
FEWS NET Horn of Africa crisis web-page with all links (updated regularly)

Somalia 10 Day Update of Conditions

Kenya 10 Day Update of Conditions

While increasing access to well-functioning markets for high-value agricultural products is one key component of agricultural and economic development, an equally important component is ensuring that smallholder producers, particularly women, have the capacity to take advantage of this increased access.

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