Browsing: Ukraine

Food security in Africa has always been the centre stage of all major global meetings. Photos of starving naked children have been paraded so much that hunger and Africa have become synonymous.

However, after years of talks, recommendations, solutions, funding, monitoring, evaluation, more talks, more recommendations, more funding…and then more years of new talks, new recommendations, new solutions, new funding… it’s exhausting; Africa is still hungry!

 The cool acronyms, the endless list of organizations, the countless projects and initiatives, the billions upon trillions issued every year, its all mind-boggling.

 Global Development Goals (GDG), Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), World Food Organisation (WFP), International Monetary Fund (IFM), World Bank (WB), African Development Bank (AfDB), Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)…it goes on and on.

Countries must continue to work to mitigate their vulnerabilities over time. This involves minimizing balance-sheet misalignments, establishing money and foreign exchange markets, and lowering exchange rate passthrough by increasing monetary policy credibility.

However, in the short term—while vulnerabilities remain high—the use of extra instruments may assist relieve short-term policy trade-offs when certain shocks occur. In particular, foreign exchange intervention, macroprudential policy measures, and capital flow controls may help increase monetary and fiscal policy autonomy, promote financial and price stability, and minimize output volatility if reserves are enough and these instruments are available.

Dr. Tiberio Chiari, former Manager of the Agricultural Value Chains Programme in Oromia- Ethiopia, within the Ethio-Italian Development Cooperation Framework, offers some of these efforts that the government has implemented in the Ethiopian wheat value chain that other African countries can learn from.

Launch and execution of suitable growth policies

The government keeps working harder to ensure the country’s current dependence on wheat importation (of about 1.7 million tonnes) is fully nullified. After years of field experimentation, in 2021, the Ethiopian government launched its new plan.

The objective of the plan is to cut down the import of wheat by producing during the cold season in pastoral dry areas currently available in the Awash, Omo and Shebelle river basins. The approach includes the cultivation of 400,000 hectares of land and the deployment of a large-scale commercial farming model to achieve a productivity of 4.4 tonnes/ha.

Rising costs have remained a critical issue in the aftermath of the outbreak. Data from the World Bank/NBS Nigeria – COVID-19 National Longitudinal Phone Survey 2020 reveals that food prices rose rapidly following the pandemic. In March and April, basic food commodity prices increased by 17.2 per cent and 18.37 per cent, respectively. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the rise remains the highest in two years.

Recent findings based on comprehensive and long-term monthly food price data have revealed considerable price rises for all chosen food categories during the pandemic. Imported rice and wheat costs, for example, have climbed by 41% and 21%, respectively.

Wheat prices surged by 21% nationally, with considerable increases in price dispersion across markets when the epidemic began, and prices continue to grow.

Wheat is the main component of bread and other products such as noodles, pasta, semolina, and other Nigerian pantry staples. The consumption of these items is higher in cities due to easier market access than in rural regions. Nevertheless, bread remains a major staple throughout the country.

Further, the IMF argued that the ECF arrangement for Tanzania supports government priorities, strengthening fiscal space for much-needed social spending and high-yield public investment, resuming and advancing the authorities’ structural reform agenda and strengthening financial deepening and stability.

Moreover, the IMF statement noted that “the ECF arrangement is centred on supporting the economic recovery from the scarring effects of Covid-19 and coping with spillovers from the war in Ukraine; preserving macroeconomic stability, and advancing the structural reform agenda toward sustainable and inclusive growth.”

On a broader scale, the IMF’s financial support goes after levitating Tanzania’s essential priorities.

Only a few Kenyans are aware of the entire extent of the law’s punitive nature, which has remained hidden from the public. The farming communities in Kenya who are aware of it are shocked that no public engagement was carried out prior to the adoption of this statute. 

Greenpeace Africa’s Campaigner, Claire Nasike, says that the Kenya government has failed to do what it was supposed to do, which was to make laws to protect the ownership of native seeds, knowledge about these seeds and the intellectual property rights. The current laws on seeds support neo-colonialism and could make it easy for multinationals, big businesses, and other profit-driven organisations to steal local resources. 

Kenya’s 2010 Constitution has made it clear that indigenous seeds, which are also called “informal seeds”, exist and need to be protected. This is done by requiring parliament to pass laws that protect the ownership of indigenous seeds. As it is, the Seed and Plant Varieties Act Cap 326 of 2012 is in breach of the supreme law of the land.