Published: Wednesday 15 January 1997

The beleaguered people of Central Africa are in for more trouble. The Food and Agricultural Organization ( fao ) has warned that the strife-torn countries in this region will have to increase their food production up to sevenfold by the year 2050 to feed its people.

Zaire, Rwanda and Burundi are some of the 21 countries with fast-rising populations and chronic malnutrition. These countries mainly subsist on the root crops cassava, yams and taro and on plantains. Even though the production of grains has increased since the '70s, yields of root and tuber crops have declined. The fao report is based on the future food-energy needs of individual countries. It says that in order to redress the existing levels of malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa, a 40 per cent rise in food production is required. For nations relying on roots and tubers, the food production needs to be increased by up to 50 per cent.

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