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Best Cereal Production For Years In South

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NAIROBI, 17 Mar 2003 (IRINnews) - A food security watchdog says southern Somalia has recorded the best cereal production in years, due to good seasonal rains.

In its latest report, the Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU) - a joint project of the EC and FAO - said "very good rainfall with high intensity and frequency" in the region had led to the "best ever recorded" cereal production in the post-war era.

It noted that cereal production following the deyr rains (October-December) had registered almost an 80 percent increase on the 1995-2001 period. 

The best production for sorghum was recorded in Bay region, while Lower Shabelle contributed most of the maize production, said the FSAU report.

According to the report, the good harvest had relieved pressure at the household level in the regions of Gedo, Hiran and Bakol "which were areas of food security concern". 

However, it noted that some areas in Middle and Lower Juba were experiencing food problems as a result of insecurity "which has caused disruption to migratory patterns and looting of assets". 

The report also called for close monitoring of the Gedo region, which has experienced three consecutive dry years and where the economy has deteriorated.

Furthermore, it warned of "pockets of food insecurity" in the Sool plateau in the self-declared republic of Somaliland and the Addun pastoral area in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland. These areas had experienced successive dry seasons.

"This, combined with additional factors specific to each area, has created vulnerability," the report stated. 

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