Africa Can Be Food Self-Sufficient, Reiterates Alliance For Food Sovereignty In Africa
Updated: Jul 22
Africa | Commentaries July 20, 2023
Speaking to BBC World News on July 20, 2023, the coordinator of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), Dr Million Belay, reiterated what has been said before by some other African experts, of an urgent need for Africa to use its abundant natural resources to be food self-sufficient. Dr Belay was commenting on the impact of the ongoing war in Ukraine on food supply in Africa. He indicated that Africa ought not be importing food from other continents because it can feed itself.
Congo River & Surroundings, DRC. Abundant fresh water and arable land for food production
Indeed, Africa can feed itself. That is because the continent has the same and probably more natural resources required for food production, that leading food exporting nations like Ukraine, Russia, Brazil, etc., possess. The natural resources include arable land, water, as well as vital minerals for production of agriculatural machinery, equipment, and fertilizers, among others.
As such, Africa should not be crying wolf about the impacts of the war in Ukraine on global food supply. Instead and as some African experts have been saying again and again before, the ongoing war should be a good wake-up call for understanding the significance of food self-sufficiency or independent national economies. That should trigger great efforts geared towards finding ways about how Africa could produce adequate amount of food to meet its own needs hence be food self-sufficient, because all the inputs that are required for that eventuality are there in abundance.
To be bluntly honest, it sounds shameful and self-deprecating when one hears some African countries blaming the war in Ukraine on their domestic food supply shortages and food price increases, while saying absolutely nothing about why they are unable to produce themselves the food they currently import. This weak attitude of such countries, has been exploited by some shrewd neo-imperialists who have been using the European bloody war to win loyalty of these dependent African countries at the global geopolitical stage, by strongly propagating a narrative that the impact of the ongoing war on global food supply is most severe in Africa. That narrative is despite Africa South of Sahara in particular reportedly having taken only a tiny fraction of the grain exported from Ukraine through the Black Sea under a now stalled UN brokered Ukraine grain deal. The bulk of exported grain under the deal is said to have gone to some EU countries, Great Britain, and some Asian countries including China and India.
It is more scientific to make assessments of impacts of global phenomena in terms of individual countries, instead of making regional generalizations that will often be flawed. For instance, there some African countries whose food supply chains are totally unfettered by the war in Ukraine. In most cases, such generalizations are deliberately made for other reasons.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, for Africa to become food self-sufficient, a continental collective approach to food production may be vital, because natural resources required for food production are not evenly distributed in the continent. For food self-sufficiency in Africa to happen, therefore, a continental food production strategy that will apply to all or many of African countries will be necessary. Such a strategy should be made an integral part and parcel of policy frmeworks of the African Union (AU) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
A continental food production strategy will require political will of all or many of African countries. Countries should realize the importance of working together, producing together, trading together, and sharing resources hence abandon immediately protectionist and egoist tendencies and practices. Without this joint approach to development, Africa has no future, as it will remain vulnerable to looting by ruthless neo-imperialists hence continue supporting artificial high standards of living in some neo-imperialistic countries.
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