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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs