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

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop illegal money flow from continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid