Emergency Response • In Focus
World Food Crisis : Africa's Story
On World Food Day, celebrated this year on October 16th 2008, Africare highlights families in Africa and their unique experience in today’s world food crisis:
Rwanda: My husband and I were infected in 2001 by HIV/AIDs. I had no strength to work, not even to have a walk. My immune system weakened, and I fell ill to many diseases because I didn’t have enough food to eat. The diseases worsened my poverty, and since I could not support myself, my children went hungry because they had nothing to eat.
Dusabeyezu Immaculée, Nyanza cell, Cyanika Sector, Rwanda.
Sierra Leone: It’s a dependent lifestyle. The women in our village travel to neighboring villages to help with harvesting. They are only paid in kind. The men farm in other areas and get small cash for their efforts. We barely meet the needs of our community and are not able to produce enough to maintain ourselves.
Chief Sheku Vandi, Taninahun Toobu Village, Sierra Leone
Namibia: I am ready. I am able. And I have the skills, but the opportunities are few and far in-between. Sometimes no matter how hard I work… it’s not enough to support the needs of my family. My work cannot take away hunger. It cannot fill empty stomachs.
Abel Akakulubelwa, Bukalo, Namibia
Dusabeyezu, Chief Sheku, and Abel are only a handful of stories coming out of Africa in light of today’s world food crisis. The reasons are many-- the rising cost of oil; poor harvests due to uneven rainfall; a shift from food crops to cash crops; increased costs of fertilizer, transport and labor; post-harvest losses; import and export restrictions – these and other causes have resulted in an unprecedented world food crisis that is hitting the poorest countries the hardest. Africa, the poorest region in the world, is home to over 400 million people living on less than $2 a day. Imagine trying to feed a family on so little,
even if food were available. On the news recently, it was reported that some families are spending 50% of their entire incomes just on bread.
This is a humanitarian crisis that can’t be solved overnight. Africare’s philosophy has always been to work in partnership with families, communities and governments, helping them achieve long-term solutions to their needs. To improve agriculture and food security (being able to produce enough food to sustain families and communities year after year), we have worked on the ground since our founding in 36 African countries in Africa using a comprehensive approach which includes many of the following components:
- Providing agricultural inputs such as drought-resistant seeds, tools, affordable fertilizer and appropriate methods, e.g., crop rotation, plant spacing, composting, weeding and agroforestry intercropping.
- Combining farming with animal raising activities including fishponds, chickens, rabbits, pigs and goats.
- Investing in wells, pumps, and irrigation systems.
- Improving the monitoring and evaluation of agricultural activities with clear indicators.
- Strengthening farmer associations with organizational skills and self-assessment tools.
- Strengthening the capacity of government agricultural extension agents.
- Strengthening African civil society to be able to influence national social and economic policies.
- Improving marketing and food supply systems from rural areas to cities.
- Training farmers and villagers so that they themselves can produce the food needed for their own good nutrition and sustenance, as well as to increase their incomes.
Help us help Africans work their way out of the cruel cycle of poverty and food uncertainty. Click here to make a difference!
Read recent news:
- Africa: Food Crisis Threatens Democracy (23, May 2008) : More than half the nations of the world in which riots have broken out over food prices are in Africa, says Julius E. Coles, president of Africare, a U.S.-based organization which has been implementing food security programs across Africa for nearly 40 years. Based on that experience, he outlines recommendations for a comprehensive approach to meeting current challenges.
Read Op-Ed >>
- Food Security Overview: Read more about some of Africare’s food security programs. Click here.
- Africare Food Security Review: Technical papers produced by Africare's Office of Food for Development.