HUNGER IN AFRICA IS STILL RISING - Fanie Brink - Independent Agricultural Economist

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“According to a new report on food security and nutrition, the hunger in Africa is still rising and the continent is not on track to meet the ‘Zero Hunger’ goal set by the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations by 2050,” says Fanie Brink, an independent agricultural economist.

The following are some of the main findings of the “2018 Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition”* report:

“The prevalence of undernourishment continues to rise and now affects 20 percent of the population on the continent, more than in any other region. In Northern Africa, the rise is much less pronounced, and the prevalence is 8,5 percent. In sub-Saharan Africa, the upward trend appears to be accelerating, and 23 percent of the population is undernourished. The rise in the prevalence of undernourishment has been highest in Western Africa, followed by Central Africa.

There are today 821 million undernourished people in the world, which is 36,4 million more than in 2015. Of these 257 million are in Africa, 237 million in sub-Saharan Africa and 20 million in Northern Africa. Compared to 2015, there are now 34,5 million more undernourished in Africa, 32,6 million more in sub-Saharan Africa, and 1,9 million more in Northern Africa. Progress towards meeting the Wealth Health Organisation of the United Nations global nutrition targets are too slow at continental level to meet any of the targets.

In many countries, notably in Eastern and Southern Africa, adverse climatic conditions due to the El Niño climatic system led to a decline in agricultural production and soaring staple food prices. The economic and climatic situation has improved in 2017, but some countries continue to be affected by poor rainfall and severe droughts.

Climate change is a present and growing threat to food security and nutrition in Africa and is a particularly severe threat to countries relying heavily on agriculture. In general, reduced precipitation and higher temperatures are impacting negatively on the yields of staple food crops. By 2050, climate change will cause another 71 million people to be food insecure in the world, over half of whom will be in sub-Saharan Africa.”

“The expropriation of agricultural land without compensation in South Africa, as part of the destructive political and economic ideology of the ANC-government, could very easily and finally degrade the developing country status of South Africa to the status of an underdeveloped country, like many other countries in Africa, where up to 85% of the population has become totally dependent on the agricultural industry for their daily livelihoods.

The government should rather keep as many commercial farmers as possible in production on their farms to prevent an unprecedented exodus of thousands of small black subsistence farmers, farmworkers and their families out of the industry into much higher poverty and unprecedented famine," Brink said.


19 February 2019
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* 2018. Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition.