Food Security. A Critical Examination if Challenges in Africa


Essay, 2020

19 Pages, Grade: A


Excerpt

Table of content

Introduction

Forms of Food Insecurity

Barriers to Africa’s Food Security

Policies That Can Alleviate Food Insecurity in Africa

Conclusion

REFERENCES

Introduction

In this paper, a detailed evaluation of the food security situation in Africa will be attempted, highlighting the limitations faced by the continent. Food security has been defined by the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security as the means through which all people have physical, social and economic access to adequate, safe, and nutritious food at all times1. Food is a basic need along with clothing and shelter2 in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Goal Number 2 which aims at ending hunger, achieving food security as well as improving nutrition3. Research shows existence of a correlation between food secure countries and political stability. The more a nation is politically stable the more food secure it is4. On the other hand, food insecurity can be defined as a circumstance when people lack adequate physical and economic access to safe and nutritious food for a healthy and productive life5. Hereafter, forms of food security affecting Africa and the factors responsible for this insecurity in Africa will be discussed. This will be followed by an evaluation of at least five (5) policies that could be used to ameliorate the situation.

Forms of Food Insecurity

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), there are three main categories of food insecurity. (i) Acute food insecurity which refers to sever hunger and malnutrition that could be fatal, (ii) Occasional food insecurity whereby food insecurity happens due to temporary circumstances, and lastly (iii) Chronic food insecurity which refers to the permanent threats to a peoples ability to access food6. Food insecurity in Africa and in the developing world is associated with 60 percent of childhood deaths mostly through chronic hunger and malnutrition7.

According to the FAO report of 2018, 821 million people globally are malnourished out of which 257 million are in Africa8. Of this number 237 million of them are in sub-Saharan Africa and 20 million in Northern Africa9 an indicator of worsening malnutrition in Africa. In fact, 33 to 35 percent of people in sub-Saharan Africa are malnourished with the prevalence of malnutrition varying across regions, lowest in North Africa at 4 percent and highest in Central Africa at 40 percent10. In the next section, a few barriers to Africa’s food security will be discussed and then followed by analysis of some policies that could ameliorate the situation

Barriers to Africa’s Food Security

According to past research, some of the limitations towards the attainment of food security in Africa include: (i) war and political instability, (ii) migration and urbanization, (iii) population growth, (iv) Poor agricultural sector policies, (v) climate change. These are discussed in detail in the following sub-sections.

(i) War and Political Instability

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization report on food security in Africa (2018), conflict in various parts of Africa has left many in urgent need for food assistance11. For example, in northern Nigeria, the ongoing insurgency exposed as many as 2.9 million Nigerians to severe food insecurity between June to August 201812. This region is critical to Nigeria in the provision of dairy products and animal proteins in for of meat yet currently under siege by insurgents who have disrupted agricultural activities worth millions of US Dollars13. This insurgency in Nigeria has displaced over 1 million people, killed over 10,000 and had the ripple effect of causing price increases in other parts of Nigeria, disrupted farming in other parts of the country thereby altering the agricultural value chain resulting in a drop in food production14.

In the Central African Republic, conflict has significantly affected the production of food and a spike in food prices15. In this country, 687,000 people have been displaced since 2018 in addition to another 1.6 million people in urgent need of food aid16. In Uganda, there has been an influx of over 1.4 million migrants and refugees- at least 1 million from South Sudan17. Majority of the Sudanese flowing into Uganda were victims of conflict in South Sudan. Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Lake Chad Basin covering Chad, Mali and Niger, Burundi, exposed millions to the need of food aid18.One result of food insecurity attributable to wars and conflict is the stunting and wasting away of children. The Food Security Information Network for example reports that 3 million children in Ethiopia were wasting away while in the Lake Chad Basin, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South sudan and in Sudan, there were 12 million children wasting away19. The wars in Africa are responsible for the displacement of 5.3 million people as refugees20 in sub-Saharan Africa, 8.9 million people as internally displaced persons21

Majority of the refugees and internally displaced persons are aged between 15-24 years a critical demographic, about 34% of all displaced people, coming from majorly agricultural households22. This group is fit and healthy to develop the agricultural sector in many African countries however following internal conflicts and displacement, the same cannot work and need urgent food aid. This same group is responsible for the next barrier to food insecurity- rural-urban migration.

(ii) Urbanization and Rural-urban Migration

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), by the year 2050, 70% of the world population is expected to be living in cities23. This rural-urban migration is currently disrupting food production leading to food insecurity24. Research shows that by this same year-2050, Africa’s population will have grown from 969 million in 2015 to 2.168 billion in 205025. Sub-Sahara Africa currently has the World’s youngest population, with 40 percent of her population aged between 0-14 years and 20 percent of the population aged between 15-24 years old26. Currently this number is over 500 million people in Africa and is projected to double in the next 30 years. One of the major reasons for rural-urban migration is attributable to the lack of adequate formal employment opportunities, the prevalence of low-wage informal sector jobs, constrained access to land27. Most youth in Africa migrate to cities to escape poverty and food insecurity28. The rural-urban migration by African youth is exacerbated by climate change affecting farmlands, natural disasters and human rights abuses29. It is important for policy makers to factor in the push and pull factors leading to this high rural-urban migration affecting food security in Africa. Rural-urban migration in Africa is also linked to growing population which is another barrier to Africa’s food security.

(iii) Population Growth

Rapid population growth in Africa, with dwindling agricultural produce is today a growing concern for policy makers. This is especially so given the fact that most of Africa’s population is youthful. For example, in Nigeria, the estimated population growth rate in the last five years is 3 percent annually30. With a population of 178 million, Nigeria is currently the 6th most populous nation in the world with 1 in 8 Africans being a Nigerian. This population growth in Nigeria has increased the demand for food yet she lacks a corresponding growth rate in her agricultural output31. In fact, according to the United Nations, Nigeria is projected to become the third most populous nation on earth by 2050 overtaking the United States of America32.

According to the Population Action International Report on population 2011, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest population growth rate in the world and by 2050 her population is projected to double. Ironically, this region holds the world’s largest number of food insecure people with 25 percent being under-nourished33.

At the same time, sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest agricultural productivity in the world and with the highest percentage of people living in poverty34. Research shows sub-Saharan Africa having 50 percent more children than there were in 1990, with 5.5 million of them being under-weight35 further exacerbating food insecurity within the continent. With 80 percent of Africa’s farms being less than 2 hectares, farms are getting smaller especially where they are subdivided for the children36. For example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the average farm size declined from 1.5 hectares in 1970 to 0.5 hectares in 199037. These farms are much smaller today. In a survey done in Kenya, 67 percent of the farmers reported their farms as being inadequate for their families and community at large owing to growing families38. This is testament of growing food insecurity.

(iv) Poor Agricultural Policies and Programmes

Most African countries have unsustainable Agricultural policies addressing food security in the long term. The major reason for this lacuna is a unstable political regimes and governments that can develop these policies39. For example in a country like Nigeria, civilian rule was restored in 1999 following years of military intervention however, successive governments have turned and over-turned agricultural policies including those that would have prospered in improving food security in Nigeria40. Other policies enacted have been retrogressive for example food export restrictions and trading bans have isolated Nigerian markets giving local farmers little motivation to grow their production for subsequent seasons while at the same time exposing the people to price volatility as a result of reduced supplies41. Many African countries also have weak governments, poor credit organizations, weak training institutions and propagation of technologies that would help improve food security42.

In an ideal situation, state policies have the capacity to create a conducive environment for growth agricultural enterprises and related businesses. A good way to ensure this would be enacting policies that encourage and spur business activities and employment in the rural areas.43 An example of a regional programme affecting agricultural output in West Africa is the Promotion of Smart Agriculture towards Climate Change and Agro-ecology supported by the World Bank and the New Partnership for African development (NEPAD) across 15 Western African countries. The programme aims at training 25 million families by the year 2025 on adoption of smart agricultural practices towards building their resilience and ultimately improving their food security44.

(v) Climate Change

According to the Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition report published in 2018, many African countries continue facing adverse climatic conditions giving rise to hunger and food insecurity. For example, in the years 2015 to 2016, the El- Nino phenomenon caused above normal temperatures in most of sub-Saharan Africa resulting in widespread drought that affected millions45. Climate change has changed the agricultural production patterns in Africa with rainfall becoming unpredictable across many countries and when it rains, either the rain is too late or too early or too little or too much and it rains for either a shorter period than before or for an extended time46. The result is that farmers do not know what and when to plant their food crops with many planting seasons going to waste owing to erratic rainfall patterns47.

[...]


1 https://www.ifpri.org/topic/food-security, Accessed 22-11-20

2 W.O. Fawole, *E. Ilbasmis and *B. Ozkan, 2015, FOOD INSECURITY IN AFRICA IN TERMS OF CAUSES, EFFECTS AND SOLUTIONS: A CASE STUDY OF NIGERIA, Department of Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Agriculture, Akdeniz University, 07058, Dumlupınar Bulvarı, Antalya, Turkey

3 SDGs_Booklet_Web-En, p. 4

4 Op, cit, p. 1

5 Ibid, p. 2

6 Ibid, p. 2

7 Op, cit, p. 3

8 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Accra, 2018, 2018 REGIONAL OVERVIEW OF FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION AFRICA ADDRESSING THE THREAT FROM CLIMATE VARIABILITY AND EXTREMES FOR FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION

9 Ibid, xii

10 Angela, M. (2006): Achieving Food Security in Africa: The Challenges and Issues

11 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Accra, 2018, 2018 REGIONAL OVERVIEW OF FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION AFRICA ADDRESSING THE THREAT FROM CLIMATE VARIABILITY AND EXTREMES FOR FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION, p. 4

12 Ibid, p. 4

13 W.O. Fawole, *E. Ilbasmis and *B. Ozkan, 2015, FOOD INSECURITY IN AFRICA IN TERMS OF CAUSES, EFFECTS AND SOLUTIONS: A CASE STUDY OF NIGERIA, Department of Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Agriculture, Akdeniz University, 07058, Dumlupınar Bulvarı, Antalya, Turkey, p. 5

14 Ibid, p. 5

15 Op, cit, p. 6

16 FAO. 2018b. Crop prospects and food situation. Quarterly Global Report #2, June 2018. Rome.

17 FSIN (Food Security Information Network). 2018. Global Report on Food Crises. Rome, World Food Programme.

18 Op cit

19 Op. cit

20 Refugees are people leaving their country because of conflict or persecution. They are defined and protected in international law and must not be expelled or returned to situations where their life and freedom are at risk. (See http://www.unhcr.org/refugees.html).

21 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Accra, 2018, 2018 REGIONAL OVERVIEW OF FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION AFRICA ADDRESSING THE THREAT FROM CLIMATE VARIABILITY AND EXTREMES FOR FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION, p. 40

22 Mercandalli, S. & Losch, B. Eds. 2017. Rural Africa in motion. Dynamics and drivers of migration South of the Sahara. Rome, FAO and CIRAD.

23 Op cit

24 W.O. Fawole, *E. Ilbasmis and *B. Ozkan, 2015, FOOD INSECURITY IN AFRICA IN TERMS OF CAUSES, EFFECTS AND SOLUTIONS: A CASE STUDY OF NIGERIA, Department of Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Agriculture, Akdeniz University, 07058, Dumlupınar Bulvarı, Antalya, Turkey, p. 5

25 UN. 2017a. World Population Prospects 2017. New York, USA, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Available at: http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/.

26 UNECA. 2016. The Demographic Profile of African Countries. Addis Ababa.

27 Deotti, L. & Estruch, E. 2016. Addressing rural youth migration at its root causes: A conceptual framework. Rome, FAO.

28 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Accra, 2018, 2018 REGIONAL OVERVIEW OF FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION AFRICA ADDRESSING THE THREAT FROM CLIMATE VARIABILITY AND EXTREMES FOR FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION, p. 38

29 Yonetani et al., (2015) reports that even after adjusting for population growth, the likelihood of displacement by disaster is 60 percent higher today than it was 4 decades ago.

30 W.O. Fawole, *E. Ilbasmis and *B. Ozkan, 2015, FOOD INSECURITY IN AFRICA IN TERMS OF CAUSES, EFFECTS AND SOLUTIONS: A CASE STUDY OF NIGERIA, Department of Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Agriculture, Akdeniz University, 07058, Dumlupınar Bulvarı, Antalya, Turkey, p. 6

31 Ibid, p. 6

32 Ibid, p.6

33 Population Action International, 2011, Why Population Matters to Food Security, p. 2 https://pai.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/PAI-1293-FOOD_compressed.p

34 World Bank 2007; Chen, S and M Ravallion. 2008. The Developing World is Poorer Than We Thought, But No Less Successful in the Fight against Poverty. Washington, DC: The World Bank

35 Jason Bremner, Population Reference Bureau, Policy Brief, 2012, Population and Food Security, Africa’s Challenge, p. 1 Accessed on 24-11-20 via https://assets.aspeninstitute.org/content/uploads/files/content/docs/ee/Population_Reference_Bureau_Population_and_Food_Security_Africa_Bremner.pd

36 Ibid, p. 2

37 Nagayets, “Small Farms: Current Status and Key Trends.”

38 Kenya National Bureau of Statistics et al., Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2008-09 (Calverton, MD: ICF Macro, 2010), accessed at www. measuredhs.com/pubs/pdf/FR229/FR229.pdf

39 W.O. Fawole, *E. Ilbasmis and *B. Ozkan, 2015, FOOD INSECURITY IN AFRICA IN TERMS OF CAUSES, EFFECTS AND SOLUTIONS: A CASE STUDY OF NIGERIA, Department of Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Agriculture, Akdeniz University, 07058, Dumlupınar Bulvarı, Antalya, Turkey, p. 6

40 Ibid p. 6

41 Ibid, p.6

42 Sasson: Food security for Africa: an urgent global challenge. Agriculture & Food Security 2012 1:2.

43 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Accra, 2018, 2018 REGIONAL OVERVIEW OF FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION AFRICA ADDRESSING THE THREAT FROM CLIMATE VARIABILITY AND EXTREMES FOR FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION, p. 58

44 Ibid, p. 58

45 An in-depth and original analysis of this topic at the global level is presented in FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO. 2018. The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018. Building climate resilience for food security and nutrition. Rome, FAO.

46 W.O. Fawole, *E. Ilbasmis and *B. Ozkan, 2015, FOOD INSECURITY IN AFRICA IN TERMS OF CAUSES, EFFECTS AND SOLUTIONS: A CASE STUDY OF NIGERIA, Department of Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Agriculture, Akdeniz University, 07058, Dumlupınar Bulvarı, Antalya, Turkey, p. 6

47 Ibid, p. 6

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Title
Food Security. A Critical Examination if Challenges in Africa
Grade
A
Author
Year
2020
Pages
19
Catalog Number
V1130305
ISBN (eBook)
9783346491237
ISBN (Book)
9783346491244
Language
English
Keywords
international, relations, critical, examination, challenges, africa, prospects, achieving, interests, arena
Quote paper
Mbogo Wa Wambui (Author), 2020, Food Security. A Critical Examination if Challenges in Africa, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1130305

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