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Millions at risk of food crisis in West Africa

Prices of some key cereals are up to 40% higher than the five year average (© Charles Bambara/Oxfam)
Prices of some key cereals are up to 40% higher than the five year average
© Charles Bambara/Oxfam

With indicators pointing to a food crisis in 2012, Oxfam has called on governments across West Africa to scale up efforts to make sure people have enough money to buy food, receive animal feed for their livestock and that emergency food is stocked and ready to be distributed. "The situation is looking extremely worrying for millions of people in West Africa, but the worst is not yet inevitable," explains Mamadou Biteye from Oxfam. "The crisis has been identified early, and we know that there are cost-effective measures that can be taken now to protect those most vulnerable. This time we can act before the emergency hits."

Low rainfall, poor harvests, lack of pasture, high food prices and a drop in remittances from migrants are all contributing to the crisis which is likely to hit people hardest in Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad. "People are still recovering from the last crisis in 2010 and are incredibly vulnerable to any extra shocks. These people need help now to build their resilience before next year," Biteye adds. "Acting early could make a huge difference."

Date published: December 2011

 

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