The current world food security situation is generally improving, but due to various factors, the food security situation in many African countries has deteriorated since last year. The AU said that Africa ’s population is expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2050, and food security will face more severe challenges. The African Union and African countries are actively taking countermeasures to improve the level of agricultural industrialization and modernization, and enhance their food security guarantee capabilities. The international community is also working more closely with many African countries to help improve their ability to respond to food crises.
The World Food Program ’s 2020 Global Hot Spots Report recently pointed out that out of 15 “hot spots” where the food security situation has deteriorated and needs urgent attention, 10 are located on the African continent. Among them, Zimbabwe, South Sudan and the central Sahel are facing the most serious food security problems. In the first half of this year, millions of people are expected to need emergency food assistance.
Qu Dongyu, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, previously said that the food security situation in Africa is more severe than it was 10 years ago. This is a major challenge facing the international community. If the international community does not take measures in a timely manner, it is very likely that countries around the world will fail to achieve the goals set by the United Nations to eliminate hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030.
The food security situation in many countries in the region is worrying
In the past month, the number of locusts in the East African countries Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia has surged to 360 billion. The FAO warned that the locust plague made the Horn of Africa’s food security “unprecedented threat”, if not contained, by June this year, the number of locusts may increase by 500 times. At present, the Somali government has declared a state of emergency in the country, and the surrounding South Sudan and Uganda are likely to be the next outbreaks of locust disasters.
Since the middle of last year, natural disasters caused by extreme weather such as droughts, floods, and tropical cyclones have caused widespread crop failure in many countries in southern Africa. It is predicted that the weather in this area will continue to be hot and dry in the coming months. The World Food Program recently warned that of the 16 countries in the Southern African Development Community, 45 million people are facing severe food shortages, most of them women and children.
Zimbabwe is one of the more representative countries with serious food problems in Africa. According to the latest report of the World Food Program, by the peak of the 2020 dry season, more than 7.7 million people in the country ’s total population will face food insecurity. “Zimbabwe is in the worst state of emergency in a decade.”
Edham, the AU ’s official in charge of agriculture and rural affairs, pointed out that Africa is the world ’s most food-insecure continent, and about 1 in 4 people is malnourished. Africa ’s population is expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2050, and food security will face even more severe challenges.
”The World Food Program is increasing its humanitarian assistance to African countries.” David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Program, said that under the combined influence of conflict and instability and extreme weather, people in some countries were forced to leave Homes, farmland and workplaces. In other countries, climate change and the economic crisis are intertwined, leaving millions of people on the brink of poverty and hunger.
Multiple factors affect local food production
The food challenges facing African countries in recent years have increased day by day for many reasons, both natural and socio-economic.
The first is climate change factors. A number of international organizations pointed out that due to the frequent occurrence of extreme weather, the temperature in Southern Africa increased by twice the global average last year, while the rainfall during the rainy season was severely low. Late rains, prolonged drought, and two major hurricanes have severely damaged agriculture in southern Africa.
The weak resistance of African countries to natural disasters cannot be ignored. FAO said that most of the self-sufficient farmers in African countries rely on natural rainfall for food production, and small farmers have no ability to fight abnormal weather.
In addition to climate change, social factors have further exacerbated food security problems in many countries in the region. The previous statement issued by the World Food Program also pointed out that widespread poverty, underemployment, and economic instability are also reasons for the deterioration of food security in many countries in the region.
Violent conflicts and turbulence have also worsened the food crisis in some countries. For example, in the central Sahel, violent conflicts have affected local agricultural production, and international aid has also been difficult to deliver due to turmoil. The number of food-insecure people in this area is expected to double to 4.8 million in 2020.
It is worth noting that in the process of food production, processing, storage, transportation and consumption in many African countries, the phenomenon of waste cannot be ignored. Edham said that in sub-Saharan Africa, the estimated annual food loss is more than 100 million tons, and this amount can meet the food needs of about 48 million people a year.
All parties work together to strengthen cooperation in the field of agriculture
Faced with increasingly serious food security issues, the African Union and African countries are actively taking countermeasures. In 2015, the AU issued the “2063 Agenda” and the first ten-year plan, clearly proposing a grand vision of accelerating industrialization and achieving food self-sufficiency. At present, African countries are stepping up the implementation of plans to make every effort to improve the level of agricultural industrialization and modernization, and enhance food security guarantee capabilities.
The AU has also established an “African Risk Tolerance” insurance mechanism to enhance the disaster risk management system of African countries. Since 2014, the mechanism has paid more than $ 36 million in early response funds to African countries, provided more than $ 400 million in drought insurance, and benefited more than 2.1 million people. Last year, with the help of this mechanism, nearly one million drought farmers in Senegal were able to resume production.
Some countries strive to seek solutions in their own development. For example, Ethiopia released the “Agricultural Action Agenda for Food and Land Use” in January this year to increase farmers ’income through measures such as agricultural industrialization, job creation for young people, and improvement of the forest and water environment.
In addition to the efforts of African countries themselves, the international community is also stepping up assistance. The World Food Program is preparing to provide dry season assistance to hungry people in southern Africa in a state of emergency. The amount of funds has reached 489 million US dollars. FAO is raising US $ 70 million to urgently support the three most affected countries in East Africa to carry out airborne pest control, pest control and livelihood support operations.