Sub Saharan Africa facing food security threat
Posted by African Press International on May 24, 2012
- Thomas Ochieng reporting from Kenya
With more than one in four of it’s about 856 million people undernourished,
Sub-Saharan Africa remains one of the most food insecure region in the world
today, this is according to a report launched on 15th of May 2012 by the United Nations Development fund UNDP.
The report dubbed ‘Addressing hunger precondition for sustained human development in Sub-Saharan Africa’ has been launched on the back drop of over 15 million people facing hunger in the Sahel region which stretches from he semi-arid belt of Senegal to Chad. While acknowledging that there can never be quick fixes, the report points out that food security can be achieved through four pronged approaches namely, increasing agricultural productivity, emphasizing on nutrition, building resilience and empowerment compounded with social justice.
While launching the report in Kenya the Head of state noted that because adequate and nutritious food enhances mental and physical development of human beings thus also enabling people to exercise their freedoms and capabilities in different fields. , “These four key areas include: increasing agricultural productivity to increase food availability and incomes of rural households; improving nutrition awareness and consumption of nutritious foods especially amongst children and pregnant women; building effective social protection and safety net programmes; and enhancing the capacity of the vulnerable, especially women, to tackle the challenges that confront them.” Said Kibaki.
Food security, as defined by the 1996 world leaders’ Food Summit, means that people can consistently access sufficient and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs for an active and healthy life at a price they can afford, it on
this backdrop that there has been a consistent call for the African political
leadership to match the commitment to the 1996 agreement with actions. Such action can make a difference.
Ghana became the first Sub-Saharan African country to achieve the Millennium Development Goal One on halving hunger by 2015, partly by focusing on policies which encouraged cocoa farmers to boost output. Malawi transformed a food deficit into a 1.3 million tonnes surplus within two years, thanks to a massive seed and fertilizer subsidy programme.
The UNDP regional director for Africa Dr. Tegegnework Gettu lamented the lack of adequate leadership that places food security a priority undertaking by the governments in most African countries “It remains a large paradox that in a world of food surplus hunger and malnutrition remains pervasive
in levels that poses a great threat to the stability and development in the sub Saharan region of Africa” Said Dr. Gettu, adding that misguided policies underpinned by the lack of political commitment coupled by weak institutions in the region are the main reasons why the Sub Saharan region is unable to attain the much desired food security.
The report paints a grim picture for the Sub-Saharan Africa that it cannot
sustain its present economic resurgence unless it eliminates the hunger that
affects nearly a quarter of its people, the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) argues in the newly released Africa Human Development Report 2012 - Towards a Food Secure Future.