News / Africa

WFP: 17 African Countries Have Protracted Food Insecurity

A farmer holds up a bunch of cassava roots, dug up from his farm in Oshogbo, Nigeria, 26 Aug 2010
A farmer holds up a bunch of cassava roots, dug up from his farm in Oshogbo, Nigeria, 26 Aug 2010
Delia Robertson

In a recent report the World Food Program (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) say that 22 countries are experiencing protracted food insecurity, and 17 of those countries are in Africa.

In their report, the WFP and FAO, say that despite a recent decline, 925 million people, or 16 percent of the population in developing countries remain undernourished.  They add that 20 percent of all undernourished people are to be found in the 22 countries experiencing protracted food insecurity.

WFP spokesman Peter Smerdon says that several problems taken together defines protracted food insecurity.

"Countries considered as being in a protracted crisis are those reporting a food crisis for eight years or more, and they have received more than 10 percent of foreign assistance as humanitarian emergency relief, and they are on the list of low food deficit countries," he noted.

Smerdon notes that in many cases, such as Somalia, countries experiencing protracted food insecurity, also have conflict and weak governments.

"In addition there is often weak governance, or poor public administration if any, in places such as Somalia for instance and [the Democratic Republic of] Congo," he added.

Smerdon adds that when conflict or droughts last several years, or rains decrease due to global warming often the result is that livelihoods become unsustainable to a point where they will never recover.

"Then people like pastoralists, nomadic herders who rely on the rain to keep the livestock alive, get into long term problems when their animals are killed by drought and therefore they never recover, they can never actually rebuild their herds to what is sufficient to keep them alive," he said.

The report notes that most countries in protracted crisis received less development assistance per person than the average for least-development countries.  In particular agriculture, which supports two-thirds of their populations, received just three to four percent assistance.

Smerdon says this is because the focus is on saving lives, and donors often feel it is too soon to provide development help when a country is in crisis.  He adds that a balance needs to be found in order to arrest chronic crises.

"You have to do both things, you have to do both development and emergency assistance to keep people alive to reverse the situation, otherwise you are just going to be stuck in a protracted crisis, and have to, have to keep trying to put out the fire, but you are not actually changing the structure of the crisis at all," he added.

Smerdon says the WFP has begun with a program called procurement for progress which sources emergency food supplies very close to areas of crisis, making it assistance rather than aid.

"And it means that the people on the edge of the areas in crisis because of drought build up some resilience, because they are getting money for the food they produce, they are not just getting bad rates from traders who then take the food, and they don't make a real profit," he said.  "So it helps farmers to start standing on their own feet rather than becoming victims the next year to the effects of a protracted drought."

Smerdon adds that for those countries in conflict, one of the first requirements to rebuilding sustained livelihoods, will be to end the conflict.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs