8 March 2010United Nations agencies are ramping up efforts to assist around 2 million Chadians who will require food aid this year because of poor rainfall and lean harvests, the world body said today. Last November the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had reported that Chad was one of 31 countries worldwide that are facing critical food insecurity due to a number of factors including prolonged drought, ongoing high food prices and conflict. In its Crop Prospects and Food Situation report at the time, the agency stated that cereal production was set to decline in West Africa compared to previous years because below average rainfall forced farmers to re-plant crops in many parts of the region and led to livestock losses in several countries, among them Chad.As part of its assistance efforts, FAO, in coordination with the Government, has put in a place a project to distribute 615 tonnes of animal food. It is also planning another project to distribute seeds for 33,000 vulnerable households. Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) has begun a scheme to provide 47,000 tons of food for 750,000 people affected by drought in the regions of Kanem, Bahr-el-Ghazal, Guera, Batha, Lac and Hadjer Lamis. According to WFP, these regions are among the most food insecure in the country due to cyclic exposure to weather hazards, a situation further exacerbated by last year’s poor agricultural production.A joint assessment carried out in December 2009 by FAO, WFP and the Government found estimated that 80,000 tons of cereals are required to cover the needs of the affected population across Chad. The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has also been involved in alleviating the plight of the hungry in Chad by allocating $3,751,801 to the country so far this year, most of which is focused on the health and nutrition sectors.