Africa Facts #9: hunger in Africa is man-made

According to the UN, in 2005 there were 850 million people suffering from hunger and 25% of them were in Sub-Saharan Africa. In this region 1/3 of the people are affected by hunger. Though most of Sub-Saharan countries look prone to droughts and have low food productivity because of their climate... part of the problem is man-made.

As you said in a different article, the agriculture is incredibly underdeveloped. There are always problems with the environment, anywhere on Earth, but man has always come up with technical solutions. But today those solutions are not available to the African people.

Even simple things such as irrigation are not used enough in Africa which means that the crops depend only on the rain... in Africa! "Good luck" as you say. (sorry for the few African countries where there is a lot of rain, I know you exist :))

Then there is also a lot of land that can be used for agriculture. Right now only 10% is used but it can go up to 15% in the entire continent. I remember an article saying that if all the land and techniques were used in Africa, only one country couldn't produce enough food for itself (Rwanda I think).

But the truth is that many countries today can't produce enough food themselves and still they import it because they have a real economy.

And of course there are other problems: the colonial history with the transformation of agriculture for exports (tons and tons of cocoa but nothing to feed the locals) and the loss of local traditions for agriculture; civil wars everywhere - also because of the colonization (to some extent) - that destroy local economies and make poverty rise so much that people can't buy any food. Sometimes the people suffer from hunger because it's a tactic in civil wars, to weaken the enemy. But the enemy can't be an entire population!

The list of causes of hunger is still so long... It's tiring. I hope that little by little at least, things will get better.

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Sep 02, 2011
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hunger is (almost) always man-made
by: Santafe

It's overwhelming indeed, especially when you start realizing how everything is interwoven in poverty. Every possible aspect contributes to make things worse.

As for hunger, I'm afraid it's not just in Africa, nowadays virtually any issue of hunger is man-made. Or worsened by man.

When can we expect a new section on hunger :)?
I'd name it "the political economy of hunger". A bit pompous maybe... or just too academic!

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