- Renewed conflicts in Chad between government forces and rebel groups have caused food price hikes as well as enhanced civil insecurity in the Horn of Africa, after displaced people were forestalled from returning to their agricultural lands to get ready for this year's planting season.
Reports by humanitarian agencies indicate that fresh fighting, along with recent attacks against humanitarian organisations and an increase in admissions at displaced persons camps, have worsened Chadian situation, with reduction of rations in April, said to have caused huge dents in food security for displaced persons and refugees.
Reports show that if security conditions do not improve soon, need for food and non-food assistance in the region, which is in urgent demand, would be escalated, to the detriment of most needy persons.
The revival of fighting comes at the same time as an increase in prices of basic food staples as well as two successive poor agricultural seasons.
Agencies have said these elements limit access and availability of food to refugees and displaced persons.
Comparing price escalations, reports pointed out that in June 2008, one kg of sorghum in Goz Beida cost 60 percent higher than same period previous year, four percent higher than during June crisis of 2004/05, and 54 percent higher on a five-year average.
Current situation in Chad for displaced persons and refugees is already unstable, thus forcing continuing dependence on humanitarian assistance for next agricultural season.
Survival strategies, based mainly on exploitation of natural resources like wood and hay have also reportedly weakened, while reports further point that petty trade is also severely affected by insecurity, especially a failure in May of economic and social relations between Chad and Sudan, which have officially banned free movement of goods and people.
Given prevailing situation, reports have strongly appealed on United Nations and similar agencies and public power to restore civil security for return of stability and relocation of displaced persons to their homes of origin, which according to reports would strengthen capabilities of subsistence food production that would in turn raise level of food self-sufficiency.
Although it is reportedly too late to facilitate a return this season, it is however believed that displaced persons could begin to return to their homes by October, provided food and security situations improve.
Final data from agricultural surveys released in March, estimates grain production for 2007/08 season at 1.97million MT, 108,000 MT less than forecast. Planted area was 3.7 percent smaller than last season, due primarily to poor distribution of rainfall at beginning of growing season.
Final grain production figure for 2007/2008 growing season was roughly 5.2 percent below forecast for this crop year and 0.96 percent below figure for last season. Contributing factors to this decline in grain production have been said to include flood damage, crop pests and earlier than usual end of rainy season.
Prices in Chad have reportedly been rising against norm since beginning of the year through June, surpassing prices of June 2004/2005 season. External and internal factors have all played their part in the increase, which is threatening food access for vulnerable populations in both rural and urban areas, reports concluded.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.