United Nations, Oct 10: As many as four million people in rural areas of Madagascar are food insecure following this year ‘s reduced harvest, a UN spokesperson said Wednesday.
“Production of rice — the Indian Ocean island’s staple — and maize has been badly hit by erratic weather and a locust invasion,” reported Xinhua citing Farhan Haq, associate UN spokesperson.
The official was citing information from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
Rice production dropped by 21 percent this year, resulting in a national rice deficit of 240,000 metric tonnes for the 2013-2014 marketing year, according to the FAO and the WFP, which submitted a report on the extent of country’s food crisis after a joint mission conducted in June and July.
“The report blamed the poor agricultural season on a combination of factors: erratic weather conditions last year, cyclones early this year, followed by a period of poor rains,” he said.
The country also suffered a locust plague, which has both damaged crops and discouraged farmers from planting, the report said.