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Disease threatens world's bananas

The United Nations warned on Monday of the potential "massive destruction" of the world's banana crop if a disease affecting the most popular variety spreads from Asia to Africa and the Middle East. The disease is "posing a serious threat to production and export" of bananas, the fourth most important food crop for the world's least developed countries, the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in a statement.

Conflict could push Sudan hungry to 4 million

The UN food agency on Thursday said Sudan has around 3.3 million people suffering from food insecurity and warned the number could rise to four million in months because of an upsurge in the conflict in Darfur. The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said the movement of refugees from South Sudan, poor harvests and the rise in food prices could also increase food insecurity in the war-torn country. "Sudan is a forgotten crisis that is only getting worse," Abdi Adan Jama, FAO's representative in the country, was quoted as saying in a statement.

1.6 million C. Africans in 'urgent' need of food

The crisis in the strife-torn Central African Republic has left 1.6 million people -- a third of the population -- in urgent need of food, the United Nations said Monday. Thousands of people have been killed in a wave of sectarian violence across the Central African Republic that has lasted for more than a year, despite the presence of African Union and French peacekeeping troops.

Crimea crisis pushes up global food prices

World food prices reached their highest level for 10 months in March due to poor weather in major producing countries and the crisis in Ukraine, a top grain exporter, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday. The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said its monthly food price index rose by 4.4 points to 212.8 points -- an increase of 2.3 percent from February and the highest level since May 2013.

B.C. pitches separate land zones in reserve and value added for farmers

VANCOUVER - The British Columbia government has proposed changes to the province's Agricultural Land Commission that opens the door to value-added processing and potential oil and gas development. The changes — the first since land protection laws were put in place more than four decades ago — were welcomed with a wary eye by ranchers, who say an update is long overdue.

USDA expects higher U.S. food price inflation in 2014

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Various measures of U.S. food price inflation are expected to rise by 2.5 to 3.5 percent in 2014, roughly in line with the historical norm after price increases were tepid in 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday. The agency evaluated expected increases in overall food, food-at-home and food-away-from-home prices.

Violence, rains stoke food supply fears in Nigeria

Nigeria is facing a possible food supply crisis this farming season, traders say, as the agricultural sector grapples with a predicted shorter rainy season, sectarian violence and greater demand from Niger. Food experts have raised the alarm after the country's meteorological agency said this year's rainy season could be shorter than usual, compounding a likely fall in production due to insecurity. Nigeria's agricultural sector is heavily dependent on the rains, with the bulk of its produce cultivated in the north and central region.

U.N. world food price index jumps 2.6 percent in February

By Naomi O'Leary ROME (Reuters) - Global food prices rose 2.6 percent in February in the sharpest climb since mid-2012 due to unfavorable weather, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday, with the crisis in Ukraine threatening to cause future volatility. The Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) price index, which measures monthly price changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, averaged 208.1 points in February, up 5.2 points from a slightly revised January index of 202.9.

World food prices fall in January, seen contained: FAO

ROME (Reuters) - Global food prices fell in January, led by declines in the costs of sugar, vegetable oils, and cereals, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday, adding that robust inventories should contain prices in coming months. The Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) price index, which measures monthly price changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, averaged 203.4 points in January. That was down from a revised 206.2 in December, originally reported as 206.7.

UN food agency launches urgent appeal for South Sudan

The UN's food agency launched an urgent appeal Wednesday to raise $77 million (57 million euros) for South Sudan, threatened by a major food crisis as basic commodities run out. The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said 3.7 million people "are now facing acute or emergency levels of food insecurity" and seven million people "are at risk of some level of food insecurity in the world's newest nation."
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