The role of African Farmers in Achieving Zero Hunger and Global Food Security
Agriculture is the base of the African economy and provides the main source of livelihood for the majority. Most of the agricultural practices in Africa are subsistence-based, utilizing manual labour and relatively little agricultural machinery. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 43 out of the 86 countries that are food deficient are in Africa, making it the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment.
In 2018, the United Nation estimates that more than 820 million people in the world were still hungry, challenging the goal to achieve zero hunger by 2030. Another disturbing finding by the FAO states that about 2 billion people in the world experience severe food insecurity. In the face of these challenges, African farmers still work tirelessly in the rain and sun to cultivate lands for food production. As insignificant as it may seem, African farmers play a very crucial role in promoting global food security.
The second UN Sustainable Development Goal is to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030. Achieving this goal in Africa will require sustainable agricultural practices and better access to food, land, technology by the small scale farmers who constitute 70% of the population.
The World Health Organization defines food security as when all people at all times have access to sufficient safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life. Food insecurity, on the other hand, is more than just hunger – it is as a result of severe food deprivation.
Agricultural production in Africa is relatively low, compared to other continents. More than half of the world’s uncultivated arable lands (about 65%) are located in Africa, yet the continent remains food insecure. Spending $35 billion annually on food importation has led to a negative trade balance in Africa. These statistics affect indigenous farmers, some of which live in abject poverty and depend on agriculture as an only source of livelihood. Low yields, lack of quality seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and advanced tech-enabled farm tools are few attributes to food insecurity in Africa.
Africa can feed the world and farmers have a huge part to play to achieve this through sustainable agricultural practices. Proffering solutions to the challenges facing African farmers is key to mitigating food security in the world. The development of human resources will help achieve food security in the world.
Investing in farmers equals investment in the agricultural sector. Human capacity development of these farmers in low-income communities is fundamental to tackle other indirect causes of hunger.
Africa has enormous agricultural potential that can be harnessed to feed the 9 billion people that will be in the world by 2050. In commemoration of the World Food today, we call everyone to take action for food security. Arise and secure the future of African farmers to produce healthy food and achieve zero hunger in the world.
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