News and Views on Africa from Africa
Last update: 1 July 2022 h. 10:44
Subscribe to our RSS feed
RSS logo

Latest news



Africanews staff

World Food Day (WFD) was established by the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation ( FAO) Member Countries at the organization's Twentieth General Conference in November 1979. The date chosen - 16 October - is the anniversary of FAO. It has since been observed every year in more than 150 countries the world over. Though World Food Day 2002 will focus on the essential role water plays in ensuring sustainable food resources for a growing world population. This issue of AFRICANEWS will highlight specific challenges facing African countries, with regard to food security.

Millions of people in the continent are currently facing chronic hunger. Hunger causes illness and death, robs people of their potential to work and cripples children's learning capacity. According to FAO hunger also undermines the peace and prosperity of nations and traps individuals in a vicious cycle of poor nutrition, ill health and diminished capacity for learning and work that is passed on from one generation to the next. Unfortunately, most poverty reduction strategies fail to specifically target hunger.

For instance, about 13 million people in the Southern African region are facing severe food shortages, which could persist for the next seven months. According to the 14-member Southern African Development Community (SADC), the region requires 1.2 million tonnes of cereals if famine is to be averted. Meanwhile, controversy abounds over the introduction of Genetically Modified Food (GMF). Some member countries are opposed to providing GMF to their starving people with reasons that GM foodstuff and seeds poses a health harzard and will have a negative effect on agriculture.

The debate is more rife in Zambia where a gathering of African scientists and corporate agricultural experts recently scorned the developed north, for alleged "selling of suicide to the hungry world", through genetic engineering. Our correspondent Singy Hanyona reports.

Reporting from Swaziland, James Hall says originally, 144 000 Swazis were affected by food shortfalls when this year s maize crop, the national staple food, was harvested in April. From now until November, at least 153 000 Swazis will grow hungry as corrugated iron storage bins on small holding farms throughout the kingdom are emptied of precious maize. Hall reports that this situation has been occasioned by drought and the government policies.

According to FAO, water is central to the survival of humanity. Water has political, economic, social and ecological implications. But it is above all linked to food. Zachary Ochieng, AFRICANEWS assistant editor, looks at all the above aspects and reveals why some parts of the country are In perennial famine.

Though looking more closely at some of Africa s hunger-ravaged countries and regions confirms that scarcity of food is not the main cause of hunger, in northern Ghana, as AFRICANEWS correspondent, Santuah Niagia reports, there is just not enough food to go round. However, vigorous local and national efforts are underway to tackle the problem of food scarcity and malnutrition by encouraging increase in food production.

Even as the streets of Nairobi continue to teem with populations of the less fortunate children, it may not be all doom and gloom as the World Food Day is marked, thanks to the generous local food donations. Childlife Trust, a local charitable organization is soliciting donations such as food, clothing, medicine and books and then supplying them to over 300 institutions that deal with destitute children. Zachary Ochieng files the report for the Action and Contacts.

Contact the editor by clicking here Editor