Africa / Climate Change / Food Security / ILRI

Challenges and potential for food security in Africa

Cattle herd walks home along dry river bed in Tete Province, Mozambique

Livestocks such as goats illustrate the complex vulnerabilities of farmers’ incomes during climate crises. Family farmers and their children are especially vulnerable to hunger (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

As of September 2010, there were 925 million people in the world going hungry, and 98% of them lived in developing countries. Chronic deficiencies of carbohydrates, proteins and micronutrients have contributed to the stunting and undernourishement of 146 million of the world’s children—roughly one in every fourth child on the planet.

This is an unfair and ironic reality, given that 70% of African farmers are growing crops for human consumption. Still, the absolute number of undernourished Africans has more than doubled from 1990 levels to 250 million today.

While developing countries are getting over the global food crisis of 2007-2008, food prices have levelled off at higher than usual historical averages. Poor families could see difficulties accessing food compounded by rising temperatures due to climate change.

Britain’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research recently announced that at the current pace of greenhouse gas emissions, global warming will cause a severe hike in the Earth’s temperatures by about 4 degrees Celsius by 2060.

In response, the International Livestock Research Institute located in Nairobi, Kenya expressed its alarm at the devastation this could cause for sub-Saharan Africa, a region where 95% of agriculture is small-scale and mostly rain-fed. According to prediction, the continent will get hotter and drier, posing dangers for human security because, already, drought constitutes one of Africa’ biggest natural disaster vulnerabilities.

Read the whole article at SOS Children’s Villages CANADA/Child Charity News: Challenges and Potential for Food Security in Africa, 7 December 2010.

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