Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the African Agriculture sector faces massive challenges. Sure these are uncertain times, and farming operations are down as markets close. For instance, take a look at the Sub-Saharan region. The International Fund for Agriculture Development, says about twenty-three million people in the area might suffer extreme poverty this year. Besides, these are reports published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Friday.
The IFAD Sub-Saharan president, Mr. Gilbert Houngbo, says African people are more likely to suffer from starvation because of the economic fallout. However, the financial institution and specialized UN agency (IFAD) is ready to boost the agriculture hub in the region. They are investing in small-scale farmers to increase food security and income and build flexibility by expanding their trade.
The vulnerable system
According to Mr. Gilbert, the pandemic impact brings a vulnerability to food production, processing, and distribution channels. He also notes that most of the farmers cannot get fertilizers or seeds since the market is closed. Besides, many of the employees are at home, resulting in a shortage of farm laborers. As a result, farmers cannot grow and sell their produce because of harvest fear.
Mr. Gilbert says that many will suffer from hunger if people do not address the current situation. Similarly, he notes that the environment and climate threaten food supplies across Africa. About 21 million people in West and Central Africa may face food shortages come July and August. Besides, locusts are still wasting crops as African countries try so hard to escape the awful famine in years.
A sign of hope
Despite the current situation, people have to come up with new ideas or innovations to survive. Despite being in the thrones of the pandemic, consider creating a post-pandemic world. Sure, fixing the food systems should be the main concern for a better tomorrow.
The Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC) 2019 statistics showed that 135 people in 55 nations faced acute food insecurity. Similarly, GRFC reports revealed that 108, 124, and 113 million people suffered food insecurity in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Out of the 135 million in 2019, Africa accounts for 73 million, where Northern Nigeria has 5 million.
The ultimate effort
Despite the rise in numbers, IFAD promises to give a boost to cushion the impact. To better the situation, they are providing seeds to farmers while creating secure supply chains. For instance, they purchase and store products keeping transport channels open. Mr. Gilbert says the company is working with the governments to employ the right policies.
Furthermore, he confirms the Rural Poor Stimulus Facility Launch to address small-scale farmer’s urgent needs. Gilbert notes that the facility got about $40 million, and soon they hope to rally $200 million from member countries and other donors.
It’s time for Africans to take action and scale-up support to the most affected nations and farmers. Like the IFAD, you should have the initiative to join the battle and prevent food insecurity. Sure, this is a wakeup call, and everyone should answer. Besides, we should make food systems more flexible for the rural areas to survive drought, pandemic, or floods.