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

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions 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.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
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 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.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid