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ROME- The United nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has again called for urgent support for northeastern Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen, which have been ravaged by years of violent conflicts.

Its directory-general, Jose da Silva, emphasised this at the opening of the 165th session of FAO Council in Rome on Monday,

saying that starvation loomed for 20 million people in the four affected areas.

Da Silva cautioned that famine, which was threatening those countries as a result of drought and ongoing conflict, would leave many dead and rip apart societies. "If nothing is done soon, 20 million people will starve to death over the next six months in South Sudan, Somalia, northeastern Nigera and Yemen," he stressed.

Famine does not just kill people, it contributes to social instability and perpetuates a cycle of poverty and aids dependency that endures for decades.

According to him, there is need for public investment and opportunities for youth in northeastern Nigeria. If we do not support these people, they will have no option other than to join local militias or movements of distress migration, he said.

He urged the FAO Council to approve the organization's Programme of Work and Budget for the years 2018-2019. He noted that the budget prioritised areas where FAO could deliver 'the greatest impact to member countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This includes climate change mitigation and adaptation, sustainable agriculture production, water scarcity management, and building the resilience of poor family farmers. Food and agriculture are central to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and FAO's work is projected to contribute to the achievement of 15 of the 17 Goals. This full alignment has been possible because of the centrality of food and agriculture to the sustainable development agenda 2030, Da Silva said.


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