As Africa’s food security situation is getting more serious, the causes being behind it are numerous. Read on to discover the most significant ones:
- Climate change and extreme weather events
Many areas in Africa have experienced extreme drought conditions during the last several decades, leading to water scarcity issues and challenges with crop production. Climate change is expected to exacerbate these problems as global temperatures increase .
- Political corruption and instability
In many areas of Africa, the presence of corrupt political regimes, along with an unstable political climate means that food aid doesn’t always reach those in need as it was intended .
- Loss of ancestral land and the loss of natural local plant varieties
There is currently an ongoing land grab of ancestral lands by multinational corporations and other private interests all over the world today, especially in Africa. As native peoples are forced from their land, they are no longer able to grow food for their families as they were able to do before .
In addition, a form of “biopiracy” is going on today, where components of traditional plant varieties are being patented, and indigenous people groups are no longer allowed to grow their own local plants.
- Armed conflicts and war
These conflicts often prevent aid workers from bringing food into an area, can lead to the destruction of crops, and make it very difficult to maintain an agricultural way of life .
- Agricultural problems
Today, Africa struggles with many agricultural problems, such as insect pests like desert locusts, cattle diseases, erosion, water scarcity, and decreased soil fertility, that make the cultivation of crops challenging.
- Dependence upon cash crops
Many African governments encourage their people to grow crops for the export market, but as a result, there is often insufficient food to feed their own families .
The plague of AIDS that is running rampant throughout much of Africa today is reducing the number of people who can farm. This disease is also placing a large burden on family members that are needed to care for sick persons.
- High population growth
Today, Africa has one of the highest population growth rates in the world, placing the African population at a higher risk of food insecurity .
Some possible solutions
While it is true that the food insecurity problems in Africa are complex and will not all be solved overnight, there has been some progress made on this important issue.
In Lesotho, people have been building raised keyhole bed gardens to grow food for their families and schools, and the gardens collect rainwater and use compost, which allow local communities to work around drought and fertility problems of local soils.
Moringa trees are now being grown in many areas of Africa to provide lifesaving nutrition and plant medicine to people in areas where other crops do not easily grow. The Baobab tree is also being planted in Africa for the same purpose.
Permaculture projects are currently being planned and implemented in Africa to combat hunger and restore degraded lands.