DEVELOPMENT TOPICS: Food Security And Agriculture
Food security in Africa is under threat, with the Covid-19 pandemic having contributed to this. According to the 2022 Global Report on Food Crises, at least one in five Africans goes to bed hungry, and around 140 million people on the content face acute food insecurity.
African countries rely on food imports, which were slowed during pandemic lockdowns, while shortages and price hikes saw domestic crops such as wheat, millet and sorghum become more expensive. Governments had to focus on reducing food system disruptions and ensuring basic nutrition for all citizens – and these concerns did not lessen with the lifting of lockdowns.
African Union member states have committed to ending hunger by 2025 under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), while United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2 focuses on ending hunger by 2030. However, only nine out of 55 African countries are on track to reduce undernutrition to 5% or less by 2025.
Food security is key sector that supports others
Supporting food security and agriculture means addressing core issues such as poverty, hunger and food insecurity, primarily through food relief, feeding schemes, small-scale farming and commercial agriculture initiatives, survivalist farming, and spending on infrastructure, facilities and equipment. Investing in food security and agriculture not only plays a complementary role in supporting the health and education sectors – it helps to prevent social unrest while bolstering entrepreneurship and employment. It safeguards the lives and livelihoods of billions on the continent.
Company support for food security and agriculture
Boosting food security is a priority in food-insecure regions across Africa. This means investing in agriculture but also in climate-resilient food production. Water scarcity and soil degradation are two major issues that require addressing, along with biodiversity loss, which can directly threaten crop yields. Agriculture accounts for 50% of GDP in Africa – higher than any other sector – and private sector support can serve to improve crop health, improve supply chains and access to market, and boost SMEs that are often run by women.