Knowing the causes of food insecurity in Africa can be the first step in dealing with this worsening situation in the continent. The outlook of food security in Africa is worrying. FAO figures reveal that undernourishment in 22 countries has a prevalence rate of more than 35 percent. 16 of these countries are in Africa. Currently, more than 33 percent of people in Africa are facing food insecurity.
According to the World Food Summit held in 1996, food security encompasses several factors. These include food access, food use and food availability. Availability of food implies that individuals have sufficient amounts of food consistently. Food access entails having adequate food resources that are needed both physically and economically to have adequate food and a nutritious diet. Appropriate use of food is based on basic knowledge, care of food, sanitation and adequate water. If these are absent, then there is food insecurity.
Food insecurity in Africa is caused by several factors. Extreme weather conditions and drought are the major causes of food insecurity in Africa. In most cases where individuals have been worst hit by food insecurity, extreme weather conditions are reported first. These cause failed or poor harvests which in turn cause food scarcity, food insecurity and high prices of foods.
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Agricultural problems such as livestock and pests diseases also cause food insecurity. Pest like the desert locusts as well as cattle diseases has caused food insecurity in Africa on several occasions. Other agricultural problems that cause food insecurity in Africa include soil infertility and soil erosion among others.
Climate change has also been a cause of food insecurity in Africa. According to experts, extreme weather conditions and drought in some regions of Africa are caused by climate change. This is common in some parts of East and West Africa that have had droughts in the past.
Military conflicts also cause food insecurity. When there is a war, people are not able to tend to their crops. Growing crops are also damaged. People lose their livestock and in some cases they are forced to flee their agriculturally productive lands. This causes food insecurity in the war torn parts of Africa.
Corruption, political instability and lack of appropriate policies are also causes of food insecurity in Africa. Despite facing food insecurity on several instances, most African countries have not come up with policies to address food crisis properly. Where such policies have been formulated, political instability and corruption have hindered their proper implementation. This has continued to worse food insecurity in Africa.
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