As the social and economic costs of Ebola mount in West Africa – now fueling concern in the U.S. – there's another issue that has always been on the radar: hunger.
It's likely to get worse, a rice and cassava farmer in Sierra Leone told Reuters earlier this month. "Hunger will kill us where Ebola failed," he said.
Likewise, other industries are crippled as farmers flee the affected area, Georgia Beans, project director in Sierra Leone for ACDI/VOCA told NPR. The exodus isn't driven only by Ebola, she presumes, but also concerns about future economic stability.
Many of the farmers produce cocoa, a major export to the United States. American companies consuming the cocoa for use in end products such as Snickers and M&Ms are taking note, even donating to World Cocoa Foundation efforts to improve the response to the Ebola outbreak, Politico reports.
To discuss the situation and its impacts on global agriculture, the World Food Prize will welcome agriculture ministers from Liberia and Sierra Leone to Des Moines this week. Megan Forgrave, spokeswoman for the World Food Prize, told the Des Moines Register that the group will rely on the federal government to determine if symposium attendees should be admitted into the country.
During their visit, the two will discuss Ebola's impacts on nutrition and food security.
Read these and other Ebola and agriculture stories by following the links below.
1. Now Hunger Threat Shadows Ebola in West Africa. Reuters
4. Experts: Ebola a Threat to Food Security. Des Moines Register