WFP predicts food shortages

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) warned on Thursday that Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania will face shortages in essential food commodities between March and September 2003.

In its "Operations Pipeline and Outlook" report for the period, the UN agency said it would require donor contributions to be able to distribute approximately 49,000 mt of cereals needed in the region.

It would also require donor contributions to meet distribution needs of 14,000 mt of pulses, 4,000 mt of corn-soya-blend (CSB), 3,500 mt of oil, 740 mt of salt, 83 mt of sugar and 98 mt of biscuits.

In addition to the immediate distribution requirements, WFP said it needed about 30,000 mt of food "to rebuild and maintain operational stocks".

In Tanzania, WFP said that the volume of cereals and CBS flowing in for the country remained "very unhealthy", with rations now at 50 percent and 75 percent respectively in order to stretch available resources. It said that fresh supplies of cereals would dry up completely in April and May.

In Burundi, WFP said the projected halt of food flowing in for the country was coming amid an overall deteriorating food security situation.

In Rwanda, it said that no cereals or pulses would come in for the country between June and September. From May there would be no fresh supply of oil "while sugar will be insufficient to meet distribution requirements in May and from September".

WFP listed new contributions received as amounting to US $4.12 million, of which Switzerland gave $1.10 million, which will be used to buy maize for the three countries; the EC gave $2.5 million for Burundi, and Norway gave $869,565 that will be used to buy 300 mt of pulses and 300 mt of CBS for Burundi and a similar amount of pulses and CBS for Rwanda. The USA has given 20,000 mt of maize for Tanzania.