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Ebola outbreak risk to food security in West Africa – FAO

Food and Agriculture Oganisation (FAO) warned on Tuesday that Ebola outbreak in West Africa was threatening food security and placing harvests at risk.


Bukar Tijani, FAO Africa Representative said in Rome that the outbreak had greatly reduced the output of agricultural sectors in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three countries hardest hit by the epidemic.


He noted that the travel restrictions and the establishment of quarantine zones had also restricted trade and transport of goods and services.


Tijani said this had led to panic buying, food shortages and significant price hikes.


“Access to food has become an urgent concern for many people in the three affected countries and their neighbors’’, he said.


Tijani also predicted a major production shortfall in this year’s cereal harvesting season, which is beginning this month.


He warned that labor shortages on farms due to Ebola would have severe implications for food and cash crop production, jeopardising the food security of large numbers of people in the coming weeks and months.


Meanwhile, the World Food Programme said in Geneva that it had launched an emergency operation to feed 1.3 million people in quarantine zones and health centers in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. (dpa)

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