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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Feeding Africa’s 2 bn population by 2050?

With a projection that Africa’s population currently a billion will be doubled by 2050, couple with the state of food insecurity on the continent, one imagines the feasibility of Africa feeding the projected populace of 2 billion in the next 39 years.

One of every three Africans, have been reportedly underfed and ironically three quarter of these set of people are farmers; those supposed to be charged with the responsibility of feeding the continent.

Spore, an agriculture and rural development magazine has it that malnutrition level is on the increase especially in Central Africa where the increase is more than doubled from 36 per cent in the 1960s to up to 56 per cent from 2000.

With under-nutrition becoming chronic some regions of the continent especially the eastern part, families have to make do with just a meal per day or even every two days.

Countries that have been affected by one conflict or the other have the larger portion of adults living below 2,000 calories per day.

With Africans relying massively on imports to meet its domestic food needs, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations warns that most vulnerable countries will witness an increase of up to 14 per cent in food prices following the raise in food prices on the international markets.

FAO also made a prediction that developing nations will have to boost their availability of crop-based energy by 175 per cent, increase supply by 414 per cent. Those relying on cassava or yam as their staple food will need to increase production of plant-based energy by 617 per cent.

According to FAO, there will also be need for East African nations to cultivate the two-third of their uncultivated arable land in an effort to increase agricultural outputs by up to 14 times.

Posing an unprecedented challenge for Africa is how it’s going to feed its population when it is doubled in the next 40 years. And in order for every West Africans to have enough food to eat, the total area of the cultivated land at present will need to be increased by four fold, all at the expense of forests and savannas.
Yinka Awosanya/LS
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