The current scenario in Africa is such that nearly one in five people is hungry. Even though hunger has decreased steadily since the mid-1990s, due to population growth, however, it has actually increased in absolute numbers. In addition, net food imports since the early 1990s have grown to about 14 percent of the total demand.
Speaking at the launch of the Zero hunger in Africa by 2025: Conditions for Success, at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki the NEPAD Agency’s CEO stated that one of the goals set in the 2014 Malabo Declaration through the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), is ending hunger in Africa by 2025. Dr Mayaki emphasised that success in Africa will therefore be through regional integration, be it in ending hunger, agriculture or infrastructure.
The NEPAD Agency and the Pardee Center for International Futures launched the report that helps to put in perspective the magnitude of the task ‘to zero hunger by 2025,’ while highlighting the major levers in policies, investments, technologies as well as human and institutional capacities necessary to sustain desired levels of supply and demand-access to food.
Dr Lindiwe Sibanda , CEO of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), highlighted the fact that hunger affects women and children disproportionately, while women are the backbone of agriculture in Africa.
“The face of hunger in Africa is that 32 percent of under-5 children are stunted – the numbers have stagnated instead of going down. If the cognitive capacity of children in Africa is reduced for life, who are the future leaders for the continent? Agriculture needs to be more nutrition sensitive. Hidden hunger challenges are therefore critical and need to be addressed,” Dr Sibanda said.
During the launch of the report on ending hunger in Africa, it was recognised that while the goal of eliminating hunger by 2025 might be very ambitious, it is not impossible.
Senior Advisor to the CEO at NEPAD on Programme Development, Martin Bwalya, gave a presentation on the report that brings out the conditions that have to be met in order for Africa to realise this goal. He reported that overall, the food available needs to be increased by 437 million metric tons by 2025 or 47 percent of current demand. To do this requires cropland to increase by 1.5 percent; crop yields need to increase by 3.2 percent, and livestock head size needs to increase by 5.8 percent year.
In order for Africa to attain its goal by 2025, a wide range of actions by different actors to bring about the necessary substantial change in the dynamics of demand and supply is requisite:
- On the supply side is productivity and production – expansion of cropland, yield increase, livestock heads and reduction of post-harvest losses.
- On the demand side is increasing access – incomes, consumer subsidies, prices, school feeding programmes, support to under-5 children and mothers, including pregnant women.