18 February 1998
El Niño to cause food shortages in 37 countries

By FWi staff

THIRTY-seven countries are likely to experience food shortages this year primarily due to the El Niño weather pattern, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Although cereal production in developing countries in 1997 was estimated to have declined only slightly from the good levels of 1996, the organisation fears that 37 countries will face food emergencies this year. This is an increase of six countries since the organisations December/January report.

The FAO in its January/February outlook – released today – says food shortages can be expected throughout Africa, Asia, Latin American and parts of the Commonwealth of Independent States, as well as Iraq and North Korea.

Some of the problems countries are encountering include floods, droughts and erratic rainfall, which are all associated with El Niño, the FAO said.