How Imported Crops Contribute To Africa’s Food Crisis – Expert

Africa is currently facing its worst food crisis in more than 75 years.

With global climate change, a never-seen-before locusts attack in East Africa and drought in the South of the continent, millions of people have been dipped in hunger and starvation.

The influence of war and regional conflicts on the continent has also played its part in leaving many hungry and angry.

South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nigeria and a host of others are all battling against varying levels of starvation.

On Village Square Africa on News Central Television, African agricultural experts, Tim Njagi, a Senior Research Fellow at Tegemeo Institute of Research and Policy, Egerton University, Kenya, and Gerald Masila, Executive Director of the Eastern Africa Grain Council, gave their opinions on the current crisis.

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Masila said while climate change played its part in the difficulties being faced in food production on the continent, human-mediated problems stand high and above on the leading causes of hunger in Africa.

He said on many occasions, crops donated to African farmers can’t stand the environmental issues in Africa. Masila added that most of the crops, usually maize are not drought-resistant like indigenous crops.

He also blamed over-focus on crops like maize in the last 30-40 years for the current problems. He said project-minded production, although good, has contributed to the loss of indigenous cultivars.

Njagi said the absence or inadequacy of technology, poor transportation of commodities and problems of preservation and storage techniques are leading causes of the food crisis in Africa.

He also cited under-investment in agriculture by national governments, lack of access to areas, and stifling policies as some of the issues mitigating against the availability of food on the continent.

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He called for more investment in research, better improvement in access to locals and helping farmers with advanced technologies to boost their production.

Njagi cited huge gaps in the continent’s production capacity and said there has been no accountability from governments and said they have to be held responsible for the food problems on the continent.

He reiterated that local farmers need to be aware of the modern trends, calling for more involvement of extension officers. He said they can be very important in the areas of information and helping farmers to manage their expectations.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is also expected to help farmers locally, by bringing the cost of production down, advancing the need for trade restrictions to protect and encourage local farmers, according to Njagi.

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He called for interaction with policy makers and the need for indigenous knowledge of African problems.

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