News / Africa

11 Million in Sahel Face Severe Food Insecurity

The food and nutrition crisis facing countries in West Africa’s drought-prone Sahel region deteriorated at an alarming rate in March 2012. (IAEA)
The food and nutrition crisis facing countries in West Africa’s drought-prone Sahel region deteriorated at an alarming rate in March 2012. (IAEA)

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
A U.N. agency says 11 million people in Africa’s Sahel region still face severe food insecurity. At the same time, an emergency appeal for 113 million dollars has gone largely unmet.


The Food and Agriculture Organization says the Sahel has faced food insecurity crises in 2005, 2008 and again in 2012.  Those crises, it says, have “eroded the capacity of the poor to maintain or restore their livelihoods.”

In Dakar, Patrick David, FAO’s deputy coordinator for food security analysis for West Africa and the Sahel, said, “There is still a lot of people in food insecurity. The people more and more find some difficulty to recover from the past crisis even if there is a good harvest because there have been pretty good harvests in 2012.”

David said many people in the Sahel depend on a few cattle and a small piece of land for survival. So, it’s hard for them to stock up any reserve food or agricultural supplies in the event of drought, conflict or bad harvest.

“While before it would take one or two years to recover, now it’s longer for those people to recover. It’s difficult to restock cattle, for example. It’s difficult for them to access agricultural credit to have good input[s] and to have fertilizer. And in some places in the Sahel, like in Burkina Faso and Niger, there [are] some dense populated area[s] where there is degradation of land and the loss of soil fertility. That means their agricultural
yield[s] are decreasing year by year,” he said.

That compounds the problems they already face as the price for grains, such as sorghum, millet and maize, continues to rise.

David said, “The poor and the very poor households, as soon as they’ve exhausted their little harvest, totally depend [on] the market. So they have to buy the grain at higher and higher prices. So their purchasing power is decreasing every year.”

Insecurity, such as the recent conflict in northern Mali, can also boost prices because agricultural products cannot get to market.

The FAO has appealed for $113 million for its programs in the Sahel. However, it’s only received less that $19.5 million so far.

“The intervention of FAO strengthens the resilience of the affected households. But when the affected households cannot receive the good seeds and the good fertilizer or cannot recapitalize their livestock, they stay very vulnerable and it’s a problem for the next year. So we definitely need additional support for the farmers and agriculture in order to decrease the impact of the forthcoming crisis,” he said.

Building resilience includes improving the storage, processing and transportation of goods – as well as livestock food supplements, animal health campaigns and herd restocking. The Food and Agriculture Organization programs also include fixing irrigation systems. 

The FAO said it would like these programs to be in place – and making a difference – during the next growing season which runs from October through April

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid