Food Insecurity in Africa

Written by: Godia Ludia Starcy


From the North to the South of Africa food insecurity has been one of the major challenges of having a productive community. The problem of food insecurity is majorly caused by; drought and famine, poverty, issue of armed conflict in Africa, population growth. In terms of drought and other natural calamities such as floods, locusts and volcanic

eruptions, they have largely contributed to the problem of food insecurity in Africa. The Horn of Africa particularly has been faced with the problem of drought, with large part of the region being arid and semi-arid with the areas experiencing low rainfalls over the years. For instance, Ethiopia in 1984 drought led to 8.7 people being affected by the drought, 1 million people succumbed, in addition around 1.5 million livestock died. FAO has warned that 2021 may be a deadly year in terms of food security in Ethiopia, with them issuing a repeat of the 1984 drought.


Poverty has been termed as the worst since majority of the African population is living in abject poverty. It is common knowledge that majority of the poor in Africa depend on agriculture to sustain themselves. There is need for each and every government in Africa to come up with suitable solution to end poverty so as to reduce the levels of food

insecurity in Africa. Armed conflict has affected food production, not only in Africa but all over the continent, in times of war people lack the time of farming as they are engaged in warfare. The Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions have played a key rule in protecting the civilian population and objects indispensable to the civilian population at wartimes. They urge the belligerents not to destroy civilian objects such as farms, dams supplying water to the civilians and the environment at large.


Conflicts also emerge at boarder points where in pastoral areas there is conflict over grazing land and water areas. Such violence is aided by the party’s access to modern weapons which intensifies the conflict. At times of conflict the people cannot engage in productive activities hence matters like food security are not their concern until when they feel insecure, thus the problem of food insecurity is further compounded. Population growth in Africa has influenced food security in the region with the population rapidly increasing and more so, the fertility rates. The population of Africa is young and the family sizes are also large hence high dependency ratio. The working population is low compared to the dependency ration hence there is a problem when it comes to food production. Due to urbanization large numbers of people have migrated from the rural to urban areas seeking good jobs hence a decline in the working population in the rural

areas in agricultural production. population increase has also contributed to the encroachment of arable land for expansion of urban areas thus leading to reducing the productivity levels of the region. The result of this menace is that the farmers have to rely on the small available area for agricultural production and to supply the foods to the

ever- expanding urban areas.


The solution to rapid population growth in Africa is to educate the people on use of contraceptives and educate them on family planning methods. The governments also need to incorporate new farming methods to their

countries so as to ensure there is sustainable food to tackle the problem of food insecurity, as well as technology use in agriculture and adequate management systems

in food production.

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