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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid