278 million Africans face hunger due to factors such as climate change and the Russia-Ukraine war despite the continent’s potential to feed 9 billion people by 2050.
According to 2022 figures of the African Development Bank (AfDB), of the 828 million people suffering from hunger globally, 278 million of them live in Africa.
That figure could rise to 310 million by 2030, warns the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Africa has 65% of the world's remaining uncultivated arable land. Although the continent has enough arable land to feed 9 billion people by 2050, it imports more than 100 million tons of food a year.
The 2022 African Agricultural Status Report reveals that the agricultural sector in Africa needs $257 billion every year in order to face climate change and global crises.
Single-product habit from colonial period
One of the main reasons for food problems in Africa despite its arable, fertile lands is the habit from the colonial period of constantly cultivating the same, single product.
Colonial states imposed a single product on African farmers in line with their own needs before the countries gained independence, and the continuation of this habit today prevents the continent from developing in the field of agriculture.
In addition, the rapidly growing population, infrastructure, and lack of investment in agriculture has deepened the food problem in Africa.
Terrorism worsens food insecurity
The presence of over 30 armed terrorist groups on the continent also negatively affects agriculture and livestock.
Especially in the Sahel region and Lake Chad Basin, millions of people experience hunger and food insecurity due to terrorism and security risks.
The UN says that 5.6 million people in the countries of Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, located in the Lake Chad basin, one of the world's longest-lasting and complex conflict zones, face severe food insecurity.
The UN warns that 18 million people in the Sahel are at risk of starvation due to terrorist groups if measures are not taken to boost food insecurity.
Despite its low contribution of only 3%, to greenhouse gas emissions, Africa remains the most vulnerable continent.
In 2021 Madagascar was the first country to tackle famine caused by climate change alone, although it had no share in the factors that cause climate change.
The country is facing its worst drought in 40 years, with more than 1.14 million people food insecure.
While World Bank data described Africa as the continent most affected by climate change, it showed that 86 million Africans are at risk of climate migration.
COVID-19 pandemic, Russia- Ukraine war
Further, the food crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic affected more than 200 million people in Africa.
The Russia-Ukraine war also disrupted agricultural activities in African countries, causing a 45% jump in wheat prices.
The war left the continent, which imports 40% of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine, facing a deficit of at least 30 million tons of food.
While African countries imported most of the fertilizer they needed from Russia and Ukraine, fertilizer prices tripled due to the war, resulting in a 2 million ton fertilizer deficit in the market. *Writing by Seda Sevencan, Anadolu Agency