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Afghanistan warns of dire food shortages

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Fri Jan 4, 6:07 AM ET

BERLIN (AFP) – Afghanistan could face serious food shortages in the coming months that could lead to a famine, Economy Minister Mohammad Amin Farhang told a German newspaper in an interview published Friday.

Farhang called on the international community for help, noting that 400,000 tonnes of wheat were still needed to feed the population through the winter and sufficient oil, sugar and flour were also lacking.

“The situation is serious,” he told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung, adding that President Hamid Karsai had formed a special commission to head off a potential humanitarian disaster.

Farhang said it would cost the Afghan government at least 80 million dollars if it has to buy grain on the free market.

“We call on the World Food Program, (German food aid group) Welthungerhilfe and friendly governments to help us in this crisis,” he said.

Farhang said rising grain prices on the global market posed a serious problem while the political crisis in Pakistan made it difficult for food shipments to reach Afghanistan.

But he also acknowledged that Afghan authorities had ftan’s warring factions to give safe passage to food aid convoys before the harsh winter cut off people in remote parts of the country.

It said more than 100 aid workers were either killed or abducted in 2007, with 55 humanitarian convoys looted.

Afghanistan is wracked not only by a spiralling insurgency led by the Islamist Taliban militia but also growing lawlessness blamed on drug gangs, criminal organisations and powerful local warlords.

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Written by afghandevnews

January 6, 2008 at 6:01 am

Posted in Food security

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