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Farmers in Madagascar need urgent help to stop hunger

Staff Writer |
Farmers in drought-hit southern Madagascar urgently need support to prepare for the December and January planting seasons.

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Some 850,000 people - about half the population of the island nation's south - are hungry and urgently need help, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) said.

Last month, the agencies warned that some 20 percent of households in the affected areas were experiencing emergency levels of hunger. "Emergency" is phase four of a five-point scale used by food agencies, where five is famine.

Hunger levels could deteriorate further if the next harvest fails, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday.

"The planting season offers a small window of opportunity for local farmers to restore agricultural production," Jose Graziano da Silva, FAO's director-general said.

"Thousands of families are already facing hunger. Missing the planting season now will result in a serious food and livelihood crisis, and render their situation even more desperate," he added in a statement.


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