Africa / Agriculture / Drought / East Africa / Environment / Knowledge and Information / Livestock / Niger / Women

Could Acacia trees solve Africa’s hunger problems?

Maasai women work together to make Zulugrass necklaces under an ACACIA tree.

Decades of food delivery and ‘miracle’ seeds haven’t addressed underlying causes of hunger. But new efforts to replicate Africa’s original ecosystems are generating impressive, sustainable results

Faith-based aid groups in Africa have a long and mostly admirable history of working to alleviate hunger. Too often, however, faith groups have focused their relief solely on food aid and have stopped short of addressing hunger’s underlying causes. While doling out sacks of Nebraska wheat during famines or giving farmers yearly gifts of petro-fertilizers and “miracle” seeds may alleviate hunger in the short term, such “aid” merely perpetuates a downward cycle and does nothing to improve the long-term resiliency of the land.

Today, a growing number of churches and Christian development organizations with long tenures in Africa are gaining attention with approaches to hunger that are more holistic, ones that look for answers from African farmers and from the land itself. Peter Cunningham, an Australian agricultural missionary who worked for the past nine years with Serving in Mission in Niger, is well aware of approaches to hunger that do not work. “There have been countless project interventions and millions of dollars spent in Niger over the last 30 years,” he says, “all aimed at reducing poverty, all with little or no lasting benefits at the village farm level. Adoption has not continued when the project ended or left.”

Read more (The Morung Express)

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