From: Antony Simbowo – EuroAfrica Media Network East Africa
Hunger and famine is nothing new in the 21st century Sub Saharan Africa. Across the continent, from the north to the south, many countries cry for food aid yearly due to conditions escalated by adverse weather conditions
In the East and Horn of Africa, famine has left lasting negative impressions on the food security scene across the years as millions die due to inadequate or complete lack of food. Food Aid Policy interventions have been employed in various scenarios where such inadequacies have been experienced. Started in the 1950s, Food Aid Policy came from the Comrade Law, which is often known as the PL 480.
Food Aid Policy usually ranks countries depending on the degree of need and prefers assistance either in the form of food or monetary help. The food security sector has been transformed over the last 50 years as weather patterns, which, influence agriculture and farming trends, change. This has meant that countries affected by food shortages invest in intervention mechanisms to counter the adverse effects of drought, famine and hunger. While the Food Aid Policy greatly caters for the deprived in the African continent, it has witnessed many challenges along the way due to issues of logistical, social and economic nature.
Dr. Christopher Gor, an Agricultural Economist and Lecturer in Kenyan universities of Maseno and Nairobi at one point avered that only about 50% of food aid reach those who need it. Also fronted is the fact that it creates dependency in the consumption-demand-supply chain. Long term intervention procedures need to be put in place by governments in terms of irrigation and the general development of the agricultural industry. It is more apt to purchase the food grown from within the countries in need of food aid than buying ready produce from countries without the nations.
The food distribution channels are complicated and this has meant that some of those affected by hunger donot live long enough to get the food. As such, what many experts are asking for is the review of the half a century old Food Aid Policy. In this, Non Governmental Organizations and corporate have been pivotal in developing livelihoods programmes that look into the long term improvement of food security through enhancement of agricultural productivity via irrigation, commercial farming and the application of soil conservation mechanisms. African governments are expected to put in more effort towards modifying the food Aid Policy to suit the needs of their citizens.