Sunday, November 10, 2013

Why can't Africa feed itself??

Sub-Sahara Africa has ample fertile land, plenty of water and a generally favourable climate for food production. It also has some of the fastest growing economies. Yet, the region is the world’s most food insecure. Even though 70 per cent of Africans are farmers, the continent continues to experience hunger and famine, especially in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel region. One in four people in sub-Saharan Africa are undernourished, and every third child is stunted, according to a 2012 human development report of the United Nations Development Programme. Ironically, countries that heavily rely on agriculture are worst affected by food insecurity. That is because 90 per cent of Africa’s food supply is produced by smallholders. And they produce so little, that half of them are food insecure themselves.

 “The main reason for Africa’s food insecurity is lack of political will,” Nelson Agyemang, Vice- President of the Ghana Cooperative for Agricultural Producers, said during a recent agriculture conference in Cape Town, South Africa. 

The reasons for food insecurity are complex. They include crop failure due to droughts and floods, poverty, conflict and HIV. But misguided policies and weak institutions are the main culprits for hunger, experts argue.

“Chronic food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa stems from decades of poor governance,” said UNDP regional director for Africa Tegegnework Gettu.

Self-serving elites are monopolizing state revenues while emptying the country’s resources

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