Food Security In Africa: Is G8 Countries Doing Enough?

Food Security In Africa: Is G8 Countries Doing Enough?
Little has been done to alleviate the hunger situation in Africa especially by the big eight countries. As result, food security in developing countries has been a burning issue in many world forums. The instability of the global food prices is threatening the recurrence of the hunger crisis of the year 2008-2009 which hit African countries especially the sub-Saharan Africa (Lisk, Šehović and Sekalala, 2015). Various initiatives have been developed by the large eight countries (G8), for example, channeling of funds to increase Agricultural production (Essex, 2014). However, all these efforts are just production oriented of food in these developing countries (Rajaonarison, 2014). The G8 countries have advocated for increasing food production in Africa sidelining other factors which are crucial in ensuring that humanity has bread on the table (Essex, 2014). Africa produces sufficient amount of food which can be used to feed itself (Conceição et al., 2016). The production of food, an important commodity for the survival of every living thing on earth, has been increasing amid the hunger crisis which has been recurrent since the year 1990 (Lisk, Šehović and Sekalala, 2015). Statistics have it that the world produces more food than its population can consume in a span of one year. The G8 countries’ policy of biofuel production threatens to render millions of people in the world which depends on exports from these countries to feed their population (Smart, Nel and Binns, 2015). Additionally, the financial policy and commodity speculation need urgent attention to solving this situation in Africa (Rajaonarison, 2014). The G8 countries have enacted policies which restrict the export of foods to world populations which are in dire need of it. Little has been done regarding agricultural investment policies (Lisk, Šehović and Sekalala, 2015). During hunger crisis in Africa, the United States of America and other countries give little or no food aid (Lisk, Šehović and Sekalala, 2015). This viewpoint goes through what has been done in the past, the current situation and the future of Africa in regard to self-sufficiency of food which is a basic necessity
Provision of food aid from G8 countries that have large amounts of food during hunger crisis is always a short term solution, therefore, not sufficient to restore the fed state of poor African countries. Food from the G8 countries has been increasing, for example, it increased from 10 million metric tons in the year 1990 to 15 million tons in the year 2000 (Lisk, Šehović and Sekalala, 2015). Food donation continued to increase to above 16 million tons in 2006. However, during the great food crisis in Africa in the year 2008-2009 food aid from the G8 countries had already started declining. Food aid has been controversial thus raising serious debates (Rajaonarison, 2014). Consequently, critiques and scholars have termed food aid by the G8 countries is both an economic and political strategy of controlling the African countries. It is believed that this donation in the form of food has increased the dependence and destruction of the African food market (Lisk, Šehović and Sekalala, 2015). It is a means of disposing of their surplus food production which then lowers the market prices of food in these developing countries (Smart, Nel and Binns, 2015). As a result, farmers in the sub-Saharan Africa do not get credit for their hard work of increasing their Agricultural production (van Marle-Kőster et al., 2015). Countries which are frequently hit by food crisis cannot rely on food relief from these G8 countries since the amount donated depends on the world market prices (van Marle-Kőster et al., 2015). Consequently, when the world food prices have sky rocketed these countries reduce their food donation amidst the hunger crisis (Conceição et al., 2016). Additionally, the developed countries have shifted their policy of food aid to cater for just emergency situations (Conceição et al., 2016). These achieved positive results in the sense that now countries have reduced dependence on food aid (Lisk, Šehović and Sekalala, 2015). However, this policy has not been laid out procedures to solve the shortage of food in Africa’s poorest countries that depend on it entirely (Smart, Nel and Binns, 2015).
Moreover, biofuel policies by the G8 countries have impacted negatively on the efforts of solving food shortage and hunger crisis in Africa. Due to global environmental conservation on the use of non-renewable sources of energy, the G8 countries in several of their summits have encouraged the use of renewable sources of energy (Devereux, 2016). Countries such as the US resolved to use food crops to produce biofuel to spare some of its non-renewable energy reserves (Lisk, Šehović and Sekalala, 2015). Maize, the solid food crop in the world population, is used to produce fuel (Lisk, Šehović and Sekalala, 2015). The US is the largest producer of maize. Although cash crops can be used to generate fuel, food crops mainly corn yield large amount of fuel than the other crops (van Marle-Kőster et al., 2015). Moreover, increasing the size of land covered by these non-food crops reduces the amount of food crop production (Conceição et al., 2016). The production of biofuel leads to the escalation of food prices up to 70%. According to a report tabled by the National Academy of Sciences, an increase in the food prices of 20 percent to 40 percent is attributed to the boom in biofuel production in the developed countries especially the G8 countries (Conceição et al., 2016). This policy is especially important in the United States of America (US). It is indisputable fact that the US is the largest producer of maize. This country diverted the use of corn to the production of ethanol. Ethanol production from corn is increased by 7 percent in the year 2000 (Lisk, Šehović and Sekalala, 2015). In the year 2012, the increase had already hit the 40 percent mark. This shift in the use of maize for energy generation reduces its supply in the world market (Smart, Nel and Binns, 2015). Consequently, poor countries are now spending over 6.6 US dollars to import food (van Marle-Kőster et al., 2015). Adding salt to an injury, this figure is expected to rise as more G8 Countries are diverting their grain production to generate biofuel as environmental sustainability initiative (Smart, Nel and Binns, 2015). Although this is addressing the issue of climate change, it does not augur well with food shortage crisis in some of the Least Developed Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (van Marle-Kőster et al., 2015).
The G8 countries, for economic reasons, should not restrict the quantity of food exported to other nations especially the poorest countries in Africa. The G8 countries have influenced and castigated the formulation of policies which ensure that no restrictions are made on imports (Devereux, 2016). However, little has been done to ensure there is a minimum limit on the exporting of commodities such as food (Devereux, 2016). These countries in the recent past in the face of fluctuating world market food prices have imposed a ban on the exportation of food (Conceição et al., 2016). This is done purposely to protect the local market from global inflation (van Marle-Kőster et al., 2015). While this protects their local population, it has an effect of worsening food insecurity in poorest countries which depend on food imports to feed their population (Conceição et al., 2016). Between 2006 and 2008 many countries including China imposed a ban on the export of their food commodities (Lisk, Šehović and Sekalala, 2015). This was criticized by many people worldwide as food prices sharply increased in the same year. The UN emergency food Wing, The World Food Program was significantly affected by this move as their reserves in these countries were greatly reduced (Conceição et al., 2016). There was an escalation of the world grain prices as Russia imposed a ban in the year 2010 which threatened to cause another food crisis (Conceição et al., 2016). The control of the export of food commodities by G8 countries has drastic consequences (Lisk, Šehović and Sekalala, 2015): It will lead to restriction of food exports by other developed countries worsening the situation of food insecurity in developing nations in Africa (Conceição et al., 2016).
Moreover, the G8 countries agricultural investment policies do not favor least developed countries regarding food security. The government investment in developing countries has taken another turn in the recent past (Conceição et al., 2016). G8 countries have reduced their agricultural investment in these emerging economies (Conceição et al., 2016). Research conducted in the near past reveals that enhancement of agricultural production has been reducing since the year 1980 to late 2007(Smart, Nel and Binns, 2015). The World Bank which is widely controlled by G8 cut financial aid directed toward increasing food production by a figure estimated to be 30% (Conceição et al., 2016). However, the reduction was justified given the low food prices in the world in the period of the year 1980 to 2000 (Conceição et al., 2016). These meant it was economical to import food from the industrialized countries which had subsidized their food production (Devereux, 2016). The decreased investment in food production was seen to have enormous consequences in the year 2008 (Lisk, Šehović and Sekalala, 2015). Since the year 2006, most African governments have been reducing investment in Agriculture. This has paved the way for foreign private investment. This policy which was castigated by the G8 countries has allowed individuals to own large tracts of land (Lisk, Šehović and Sekalala, 2015). The private investors who are mostly investors use the land to grow large scale crops which include both food crops and non-food crops. Growing of non-food crops such as tea reduced the production of food in these developing nations (Lisk, Šehović and Sekalala, 2015). Moreover, the food crops that are cultivated are exported to the mother countries to aid biofuel production (Conceição et al., 2016). This denies local small farmers of an opportunity to grow their small scale food crops. Consequently, their access to food is compromised (Lisk, Šehović and Sekalala, 2015).
However, we should give credit where it deserves .The United Kingdom (UK) which is one the countries in the G8 have contributed immensely in ensuring food security in Africa. The UK government has come up with initiatives such as cash transfer programs. In this new program, people are given small cash during food crisis which ensures that they do not have to sell their assets such as livestock to solve the situation (Conceição et al., 2016). The financial aid has long term solution subsets such as the building of boreholes and classrooms (Essex, 2014). The water points provide water for irrigation during droughts which further increases food production (Essex, 2014). In countries such as Ethiopia, the Productive Safety Net Program provides cash and food to almost 8 million people who are destitute and cannot support themselves during food crisis (Lisk, Šehović and Sekalala, 2015). The UK government also promotes private and public sector relationship. Additionally, the financial aid is given to the private institutions since most public ones are blanketed with corruption (Essex, 2014). This is geared toward funding innovation towards food production such as setting up of greenhouses (Lisk, Šehović and Sekalala, 2015). The overall effect of this initiative is increasing overall food production in these impoverished countries. Although this is a positive response from one of the members of the G8 countries, more is yet to be seen from the other countries such as the US (Smart, Nel and Binns, 2015).
Do African countries really need the G8 in solving the hunger situation? The G8 countries have fallen short in ensuring food security in Africa. Increasing funding for food production in the poorest countries in Africa does little in ensuring food safety. These countries have worsened the situation by reducing their commitment towards food security in Africa. Instead, these nations are using this food to produce energy which is called biofuel. In this regard, the countries have banned exporting their grains to impoverished nations in the world. This is expected to worsen the situation in countries where hunger crisis is the order of the day. However, some countries in the G8 are seen to be crucial in combating the situation. G8 countries should double their efforts in saving humanity from pangs of hunger particularly in sub-Saharan Africa including the Horn of Africa. This can only be achieved by showing Africans on how to fish rather than giving them fish itself.

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