In Africa, billions are spent every year to wipe out hunger but there are still many countries in this continent that are among the poorest in the world.
According to UN figures, over 250 million people, that is one out of every five people in Africa is undernourished or malnourished. This has caused weak immune system which has made them vulnerable to diseases and lack vitamins needed for their development which may even lead to death.
Why is that?
The cycles of droughts, poverty, bad leaders, corruption and war are the leading cause but the biggest is Africa’s dependency on FOOD AID; and for many decades, this has been undermining the continent’s effort to feed itself.
Humanitarian aid has its measures and benefits but the importation of staple food into the continent where 60% of the population live on the land is not just sad but dismal abysmal. This must change.
Rich donor countries have been doing well in their ways of eradicating hunger in Africa, but a new approach to their philanthropic activities must emerge. If these rich countries are serious about eradicating hunger, they must rip off the bandage of food aid which means their philanthropic activities must be redefined!
There should be a new approach of public-private partnership which will enable African countries to become self-sufficient. This partnership (3Ps) will make rich donor countries to see the need and invest in agriculture and local manufacturing.
Instead of turning the continent into dumping ground for food aids, these partnerships can purchase locally grown crops from farmers which consist of mostly women at good prices thereby creating sustainable income for them.
The crops from local farmers should undergo processing in local factories where nutritional food and cereals can be produced for mothers, children and families at large.
Now is the time for a new approach. Africa has many real and profitable business opportunities ranging from the local farms i.e., agriculture to the supply chain and then the market.
Investing in Africa’s food security cannot be over-emphasized as it is the responsible thing to do morally and socially. As such, governments must play a major role in their commitments to sourcing food locally thereby reducing costly importation.
Food security is one of the tremendous benefits that exist…there is still more that needs to be done to achieve a self-sufficient Africa
Food security is one of the tremendous benefits that exist when agriculture in Africa get good investment. Unquestionably, enhancement of food security will have positive impact on regional stability, as factors that would normally trigger war or displacement in unstable regions will be reduced.
Also, Food Aids agencies such as UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) should use surplus crops from local farmers instead of importing food and this will help alleviate suffering and starvation in famine-prone and conflict zones.
While there have been significant strides made in agriculture sector in Africa by some agencies which include African Development Bank (ADB), Africa Improved Foods (AIF), World Food Programme (WFP) and some African governments, there is still more that needs to be done to achieve a self-sufficient Africa.
Food security in Africa is achievable. With the investment of public-private partnerships in the agricultural sector in Africa, hunger in Africa can be wiped out for good.
Written by: Emmanuel J. Osemota