News / Africa

African Agriculture Suffers as Global Economy Falters

Multimedia

Audio

African agriculture has taken a hit from the worldwide economic crisis.  Agriculture is one of the most important economic activities in Africa.  Millions of people are direct beneficiaries of employment from farming or other agricultural activities. Over 200 million people are engaged in agricultural labor, according to UN estimates – over 50 percent of the total population.  Aside from employment, agriculture supports the survival and well-being many African societies.

It has been one of the most affected sectors in the current global crisis. World Bank figures show  that global trade is expected to decrease by almost 10 percent in both the developed and developing world.
   
Africa exports millions of dollars worth of agricultural produce, so a decrease in demand on the world market has far-reaching effects on communities that depend on export incomes. 
   
The slowdown is already showing a major reduction in government and household incomes across the continent -- mainly sub-Saharan Africa. The FAO reports a drop in demand for commodities like coffee, rubber and tea, fueling unemployment and a causing a major drop in household incomes. 

The high cost of staple foods is straining the ability of the poor to afford three square meals a day.

The decreased purchasing power of western nations coupled with falling prices of commodities like coffee and tea is threatening to turn back the clock on some important progress in the agricultural sector.  “When the export sector is affected, all other sectors are affected too, because they rely on the export sector for demand,” says World Bank economist Shantayanan Devarajan.

The economic crisis has led to a decline in private and public Investment in agricultural development, according to Dr. Montey Jones, a director with the Ghana-based Forum for Agricultural Research.  Much of the foreign aid that was geared towards research in agricultural research has either been redirected or completely cut off, he says.
   
The crisis has undermined the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), which was created by the FAO and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).  One of its goals was to increase investment in agriculture, but countries hard hit by the crisis can’t afford to do so.

Poor roads hamper transportation


Malawi earns up to 70 percent of its foreign exchange from tobacco. Most of it is grown in the rural areas where farmers have to transport it for long miles to the capital city, Blantyre.  Statistics indicate that only 34% of sub-Saharan Africa’s rural population lives within two kilometers of a tarmac road.
   
Alinafeje Agaraga, a farmer in southern Malawi, says one of his main problems is high transportation costs.
   
“It is a big challenge to us farmers,” he says.  Poor rural infrastructure, like roads, makes it expensive to transport goods to the markets.  This makes it harder for African farmers to compete in the global markets.
   
Fuel prices affect farmers

Increased fuel prices, also a direct result of the financial crisis, have affected Agaraga‘s profits.  Many transport companies have shifted the high cost of fuel to the farmers, who now have to pay more than twice as much as they used to in order to get their produce to the city
   
In the end, the higher cost is passed on to the consumers, pushing up food prices tremendously in the past couple of years.  Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger is the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) but cannot be achieved without food security.
 

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid