Analysts say Ebola outbreak could lead to food crisis

Students taking culinary school online considering a career abroad may want to note a potential food supply issue in Africa. USA Today has reported that the United Nations’ World Food Program has concerns regarding the impact of the ebola outbreak on food supply in impoverished nations. The program, which has expanded its operations in West Africa as it attempts to feed 1.3 million people affected by the outbreak, is under great strain. Essentially, the program is trying to nourish victims of ebola, their families and others exposed to the disease, but the vast number of people affected is having an adverse effect on the agricultural harvest of West Africa.

While many farms integral to the food supply in these countries have been abandoned in an effort to outrun the disease, people have also been unable to hunt for meat, as the blood exposed may pose a contagion risk.

While there has been an outpouring of donations from humanitarian organizations, chefs and even students, the food economy in West Africa and the surrounding areas is quickly changing for the worse. USA Today has indicated that imported food, which can be trusted as not contaminated, has experienced an incredible mark up; the cost of imported rice in Freetown, Sierra Leone has gone up by $15.50.

Furthermore, many airlines have refused to import food to the affected areas for fear of spreading the illness. Michael Stulman, who works with Catholic Relief Services, indicated to USA Today that there may be a rapid downturn in the already scarce availability of food if aquatic shipping companies took the same course of action.

“[If] the vessels take similar steps as the airlines, then we have a major problem,” said Stulman.

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