News / Africa

Report: Food Insecurity a Huge Problem in Africa

An internally displaced woman holds her malnourished son at a new settlement in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, July 19, 2011.
An internally displaced woman holds her malnourished son at a new settlement in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, July 19, 2011.
NAIROBI -  Despite impressive economic growth rates across Africa, many of the continent’s people remain food insecure.  That is the major finding of Africa’s first Human Development Report, released Tuesday in Kenya’s capital.
 
In the lead-up to the report’s launch, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki painted a grim picture of his continent’s food security situation.
 
“Sub-Saharan Africa is most affected, with an estimated 239 million people, representing 30 percent of the population, suffering from chronic hunger and malnutrition - 30 percent," the president declared.  "Moreover, in the same region, about 38 percent of children below five years are stunted due to the effects of chronic malnutrition.”
 
Economic growth

Meanwhile, African economies have been growing at rates of more than five percent - among the world's highest - since 2010 and are projected to continue the trend.
 
The irony is not lost on the report’s author, Tegegnework Gettu, director of the United Nations Development Program’s Africa regional bureau.
 
He calls it a “harsh paradox” that sub-Saharan Africa is food insecure when the continent has ample fertile land, substantial amounts of surface and underground water, and the ideal climate to grow crops.
 
He says that misguided policies, lack of political commitment, and weak institutions are what he calls the “deeper cause” of food insecurity.
 
“History is not destiny," noted Gettu.  "These experts, these researchers conclude that Africans are not destined to starve.  It is solvable with a certain period of time, provided that governments move decisively to put in place appropriate policies and support mechanisms.”
 
Report theme

The first-ever African Human Development Report 2012 was released in Kenya’s capital Tuesday.  The theme of the inaugural report is “Towards a Food Secure Future.”  The report defines food insecurity as the inability to consistently get enough calories and nutrients for a healthy and productive life.
 
It says that agricultural productivity in Africa remains much lower than in other parts of the world.  Even when food is available, millions cannot afford to purchase that food.
 
Women and the rural poor - who are the major food producers - are often discriminated against, says the report.
 
Recommendations

To improve food security across the continent, the report recommends that governments implement policies in four areas.
 
The first is to boost small farmers’ productivity by giving them access to improved seeds and fertilizers, extension services, new technologies, and credit.
 
A second goal is to improve nutrition by educating people - especially girls and those living in isolated areas - about what to eat.
 
A third area is building resilience for individuals and communities by offering social safety nets, crop insurance, food-for-work programs, repairing degraded environments, and other initiatives.
 
Fourthly, the report recommends that women and other marginalized people be given more access to land, decision-making, and other rights.

You May Like

US Storm Falls Short of Severe Predictions, Yet Affects Millions

Governors of several East Coast states close schools, order travel bans, urge people to stay home as snowfall, heavy winds, flooding continue in areas More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle with Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people were displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden 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