The present news cycle surrounding agriculture in Africa has been troubling. Food shortage and food price inflation reports, headline major news publications, making the current food insecurity in the continent hard to ignore.
Both local and foreign catalysts have influenced this downward trend, reducing the viable options necessary to mitigate the growing food scarcity.
Climate change and international crises like the Russian-Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic are significant proponents of the continent’s food crises.
In Africa, climate change which causes the destruction of food products continues to intensify. Drought and other effects of odd weather patterns have not only reduced crop yields but have also affected the logistics of food transport.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a recent article revealed that one-third of the world’s drought occurs in Africa. It also revealed that Ethiopia and Kenya are enduring one of the worst droughts in at least four decades. While countries such as Chad are being severely impacted by torrential rains and floods.
As a result, there is an increase in Africa’s dependence on imported foods and exuberant government subsidies. A subsequent rise in the rate of poverty follows as food, the most basic commodity becomes less affordable.
The problem requires very inventive and applicable solutions. Below are the top five solutions that governments all across Africa can implement to reduce food shortage in Africa, according to the IMF.
Storage Infrastructure: A majority of small-scale and local farmers in Africa are ill-equipped to store their produce. While climate change typically affects sown crops, it also affects harvested crops. A good way to protect food production is for governments to build proper food storage infrastructures for farmers who don’t have the means to do so themselves.
Using solar power: Harnessing the heat that comes with drought is a silver lining strategy that could be impactful. Ironically this solar-powered intuition can be used to build irrigation systems, that waters the soil and cool its temperature.
Digitization: Digital solutions can help curb the problem of low yield. Digitization can give farmers access to early warning systems and mobile banking as well as platforms to purchase fertilizers, seeds, or sell produce, helping to connect small producers to large vendors.
Relief funds: Rather than a nationwide subsidy that eats at the federal reserves, governments in Africa can instead create relief funds to help people buy food and rebuild after weather shocks. These funds if properly targeted, can also help local farmers, scale their production, by investing in resilient storage infrastructure and AgriTech solutions.
Private funding: Funds from private investors can be issued to small-scale farmers. While it is a complicated idea to get companies to deviate from their initial fund programs and constitute them to fund the agricultural sector, it is less complicated to get micro-finance institutions or public-private partnerships to buy into the idea. These institutions can also help credit farmers who currently don’t have access to banks.