On food security: The prevalence of price hikes

NAIROBI: According to a recent assessment of the city’s food security, undertaken by the Kenyan government and two international food organisations, the proportion of urban poor is rising steadily. In a city where almost all high-density urban settlement is informal, the assessment’s analysis of the city’s vulnerability to food insecurity reveals that 13% of households living in these areas have unacceptably low levels of food consumption.  Urban children are also affected, with over a quarter of the youth constituency apparently stunted due to malnourishment. READ MORE…

 

KAMPALA: An article in Think Africa Press has raised questions regarding the accuracy of food security monitoring systems that show Kampala as “food secure.” Increase in food prices has been an aspect of this capital’s food market since 2008, and due to the largeness of income disparities within the city, the rising numbers of urban dwellers needing to forgo their usual diets are unaccounted for. Residents blame various factors for the food price hikes, including government inefficiency, global financial turmoil and drought, and recognise the urban situation as undermining the advantages of living in the city. Whatever the reason, urban households are paying the price for the perceived conveniences their locations grant. READ MORE…

 

KIGALI: Food prices continue to rise in Rwanda’s capital. With traders attributing price hikes to scarcity, The New Times has reported instances of prices for certain food products doubling within months. A representative of Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture has assured citizens of the temporary nature of the situation, stating that food prices will decline by the end of the current year thanks to new harvests. However, while prices fluctuate and income remains stagnant, residents are questioning the affordability of urban living. READ MORE…

 

ZIMBABWE: While Rwanda’s Agriculture Ministry remains optimistic about new harvests, Zimbabwe’s maize production is a third lower than last year, according to Think Africa Press. With 1.7 million citizens in dire need of food aid, a 60% increase since the previous year, pessimism greets the hope of future recovery. Residents, as well as international aid structures, are blaming years of failed agricultural policy for the critical situation the country faces. READ MORE…

 

MALAWI: President Joyce Banda’s bold move to devalue the kwacha in an attempt to encourage Malawian exports has led the country into straits not unlike its neighbours suffering from escalating food prices. The rapid increase in prices has resulted in the prospect of 1.6 million people being unable to meet basic food needs within the next three to eight months. READ MORE…

 

MAURITIANA: Drought seems to be the force behind increased food prices in local markets, according to a recent article in AlertNet. Unlike various other countries in the Sahel region, the setting of the dry season has not resolved in steady rainfall. The resultant reduction of harvests has eroded the purchasing power of low-income households. Despite apparent hope given by the World Food Programme’s cash-transfer initiative, one is forced to question the effectiveness of the aid strategy in tackling the immediate problem, as opposed to merely disincentivising civil community action. READ MORE…

 

TANZANIA: The country was subject to on-site assessment as a result of the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) Arusha hosted last month. According to Kofi Annan, chairperson of the African Green Revolution, Tanzania’s agricultural growth is representative of what can be possible. Optimism on assessing various small-scale farms stemmed from the possibility for these self-driven agricultural efforts to be transformed into sources of guaranteed food security for the entire continent. READ MORE…

 

The AGRF, which was set to address issues of global food security, delved into the potential for reform of Africa’s agriculture sector. According to an article by Inter Press Service, food shortage was discussed as a catalyst for the civil unrest in North Africa, and Annan emphasised the necessity for harmonising policies with the prospects of regional free trade of agricultural goods.

 

Al Jazeera recently submitted a press release regarding the potential for an intensified food crisis in Africa, suggested by data from a recent report on global food security.

 

The statistics ring clear with the alarm set off by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the urgent need to accelerate aid efforts in the Sahel region. According to Mail and Guardian, the humanitarian crisis is perceived by  the international organisation to be affecting the majority of lives within the area.  The recent news article discusses the IMF’s bid raised in an international conference on Saturday.

image credit: Salla Himberg/IRIN

 

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