More than 100 million people are facing food insecurity and about 4.3 million people are being assisted by Red Cross Red Crescent. The poor are the hardest hit. Droughts, floods, climate change and other socio–economic factors have had a profound impact on the food security situation on the continent. Africa needs to reclaim and use indigenous food to break dependence on commercial varieties and food imports and to counter the effects climate change and hunger crises.
Africa still spends billions dollars on food imports particularly grains and other processed foods. In 2020 alone. Africa spent about US$80 billion on food imports and that figure is rising at a rate of about six percent per annum. This is not beneficial for the continent. Heavy reliance on imports comes with a huge risk and price. Covid-19 restrictions have affected the global production of food and in the past 6 months, the price of staple grains has been going due to the shocks on the market. Most African countries are having to fork more money to import food.
This is happening despite the fact that the continent has vast tracts of unused arable land. The population is growing due to the rapid urbanisation of the continent. There are so many mouths to feed and Africa needs to explore diverse strategies and options to grow enough food for its people.
Modern processing equipment for grains such as sorghum, millet, maize, rice and other key crops can boost food production on the continent.
Africa holds a rich and diverse stock of indigenous vegetables. In Zimbabwe, there are indigenous vegetables such as tsunga, nyevhe, mutsine, derere rebupwe, regusha, rename and renyunje and indigenous crop varieties like sorghum, pearl and finger millets, cowpeas, taro, madhumbe and bambara nuts. These are now seen as neglected and under-utilised crop species (NUS) which farmers and public health experts argue are important in improving the nutrition of people, particularly now when there is a rise in non-communicable diseases such as cancers and diabetes.
Africa has the richest diversity of edible insects than anywhere else in the world. Zimbabwe's diverse range of edible insects include amacimbi/ madora, ishwa, locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, harurwa and numerous others. These edible insects are harvested from the wild and are rich in proteins and other micro-nutrients. Worldwide some 2 billion people consume insects.