Will Africa Ever Overcome Her Food Shortage Crisis?
According to a recent report from Buzz Nigeria, Oxfam, Nigeria, Yemen, and East Africa are facing a devastating food shortage crisis. In South Sudan and northern Nigeria, famine has already been declared, while Somalia and Yemen are headed towards a similar situation.
Across Africa, over 20 million people are experiencing starvation with children being the worst affected. Famine in Africa has been featured in the news every couple of years causing many to question whether Africa will ever get over her food shortage crisis. To answer this question, it is necessary to identify the major contributors of famine in Africa and determine why a permanent solution to these factors has never been forthcoming.
The Major Causes of Famine in Africa
Drought and Other Extreme Weather
In many cases, the food shortage crisis in Africa has been preceded by drought and extreme weather conditions. These situations lead to failed or poor harvests which lead to food scarcity and heightened prices for the available food.
According to many expert reports, the prevalence of drought and extreme weather conditions in many areas arises due to climate change. This is true for East and West African regions which often experience recurrent droughts.
Lack of Emergency Plans
In most of the food shortage situations in Africa, reports show that the countries are unprepared when the crisis hits them. This makes them unable to salvage the situation and highly dependent on foreign aid.
Political Instability and Corruption
The international community usually comes to the aid of famine-stricken countries by offering food and other much-needed supplies. However, in some cases, foreign aid does not reach the vulnerable populations owing to political instability and high corruption in many African countries.
Why There Seems to Be No Solution to the African Food Crisis
The main reason why the food crisis in Africa never seems to go away is because she relies on temporary solutions every time it arises. Foreign aid addresses short-term emergencies and until Africa can begin thinking about long-term solutions, the food shortage crisis will always recur. According to Christina Bennet, a foreign aid analyst, one of the major causes of the recurrence of drought in African regions is poor governance.
The lack of safety nets causes African countries to fall into a food crisis time and again because they are either too poor to afford the development of emergency plans, or too absorbed in ethnic tensions to think of such services. As a result, Africa continues to depend on foreign aid every time drought hits the continent.
The best strategy for Africa would be to elect into power regimes that adopt sustainable development programs that address drought, extreme weather conditions, and climate change. This should include the use of specific technology, agricultural techniques, and crops. For example, the use of drought resistant crops and chemical fertilizers for increased production can help alleviate the food shortage threat to a certain extent.
The other issue that African authorities should address is political instability and corruption. Political instability and corruption results in conflict and is among the top causes of drought in African regions. Addressing conflict should include diplomacy and is one of the ways countries such as war-torn Somalia and South Sudan can be able to tackle the problem of food shortage.
The food crisis in Africa is a situation that never seems to go away. Until the African leaders in those famine-stricken nations work towards developing safety nets and adopting plans that address the region's drought, bad weather conditions, climate change, and politically instigated conflict, this crisis will never be over.