By Fidel Amakye Owusu

1. The report from UN agencies that over forty million Africans in West and Central Africa face food insecurity, with thousands likely to experience famine is unfortunate.

2. In the report, factors like violent extremism, climate change, food inflation caused by post-COVID and Russia-Ukraine among others have been mentioned as major causes of food insecurity.

3. And so what?

4. Despite all these real factors, some longstanding deficiencies have also contributed immensely to the debacle. These need to be addressed.

5. To start with, the vegetation of these regions is among the richest in the continent. It is also well watered by rivers that flow all year round. There are also huge sections of the populations of states in these regions in agriculture.

6. These notwithstanding, the regions have over the decades faced periodic food insecurity and malnutrition.

7. Why?

8. African states have for many decades concentrated on non-food cash crops at the expense of food production. In Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, fertile lands have been used for cash crops. Cocoa, oil palm, rubber and others. Staple foods become the opportunity cost.

9. Also, despite the abundance of fresh water, states have not utilized the irrigation potentials of these water bodies to produce food during lean seasons.

10. Ghana has the largest artificial lake in terms of surface area and other major rivers; Nigeria has the Niger, and other rivers; and the Congo Basin waters several countries in Central Africa. These have not been unitised enough.

11. Again, the infrastructure gap in many of these countries has meant that the transportation and storage of food has not been poor. Tonnes of food items go bad during transportation—roads are often non-existent or inaccessible.

12. Poor rural infrastructure and services have translated into rapid rural-urban migration that threatens future food production.

13. If these challenges are not addressed together with what with this mentioned in the report resolving perennial food insecurity will be arduous. Many countries rely on imported food.

14. Many more…

By Fidel Amakye Owusu – International Relations and Security Analyst and Writer

Article Reproduced with Permission from Fidel Amakye Owusu

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