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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More