Food prices skyrocket in Ebola-affected countries

Ebola Outbreak

Food prices are soaring in countries affected by the Ebola outbreak as the U.N. warns of food shortages. CCTV America’s Nina deVries reports from Sierra Leone on how people are coping.

In Freetown’s busiest market, life hasn’t been easy for vendors since the Ebola outbreak came to Sierra Leone in May.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, since the Ebola crisis hit Sierra Leone prices for food have gone up in urban areas between 13 to 50 percent. This is mainly due to government restrictions on movement for trucks to transport goods from farmers in rural areas. FAO recently conducted a rapid food security assessment to get a better sense of what is going on.

“Up in Freetown, the prices are high because demand is high and supply is low,” said David Mwesigwa, spokesperson for FAO in Freetown. “That is happening in many cases, especially for meat and vegetable crops and potatoes and other commodities.”

But it’s had the opposite effect in some cases.

“You see prices also going up, but also going down, especially at the supply side, where produced farmers get prices, especially for vegetables,” he said. “That has been common, because farmers couldn’t bring them (the food) up in urban areas, so where the production happens you see prices going down.”

FAO said it will continue working with the local government to find ways to bring more trucks in and hopefully help reduce the cost of food.