Reitumetse Makwea

By Reitumetse Makwea

Journalist


Experts predict greater food security threat in Africa over the next two decades

Sihlobo added that SA was still in a better position than many other African countries.


It’s been more than a year since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war and Africa has borne the brunt of the storm, with experts predicting a greater food security threat over the next two decades. Despite South Africa’s food security supplies being in a “fairly” sustainable state, even in the next two years, experts say Africa is already battling with food security, which is felt by poor households across the continent. Food security in Africa Speaking at the University of the Free State’s Thought Leader Series: The need for a global and regional plan to respond to the consequences of…

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It’s been more than a year since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war and Africa has borne the brunt of the storm, with experts predicting a greater food security threat over the next two decades.

Despite South Africa’s food security supplies being in a “fairly” sustainable state, even in the next two years, experts say Africa is already battling with food security, which is felt by poor households across the continent.

Food security in Africa

Speaking at the University of the Free State’s Thought Leader Series: The need for a global and regional plan to respond to the consequences of the Russia-Ukraine war, agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo said the future looked bleak for Africa, which will “remain more vulnerable to global wars and shocks”.

ALSO READ: Africa’s food security under threat, Ramaphosa tells Putin

His comment followed that of Dr Jakkie Cilliers of the Institute for Security Studies who said that SA’s economy had been struggling with little to no economic growth for years.

He also noted that the war had meant that SA’s gross domestic product had been on a steady decline “which essentially just shows us that what happens globally has an impact on SA”.

Sihlobo noted that there was an urgent need for the “strengthening of regional value chains. It’s something we should be thinking about a lot, especially in terms of cushioning ourselves from the shocks that we’ve seen.

“We need stability in many parts of the African continent, stable investments flowing in and secondly, land governance and spending in public infrastructure that allow trade to function,” he said.

“Because if this is not in place, we’re not going to see improvements in agricultural productivity in Africa, which will remain more vulnerable.”

ALSO READ: New plan to improve food security

Sihlobo added that SA was still in a better position than many other African countries.

“One thing that no-one can run from is the effects of the disruption,” he said.

Education

The university’s vice-chancellor and principal Prof Francis Petersen said the series was important in establishing and contributing to public discourse because “we need to help the general public understand what is happening, especially because a lot of households feel the consequences more and are forced to bear the brunt. It’s important to educate them and help them understand what is happening.

ALSO READ: Load shedding threatening food security in SA

“But to also understand what we need to include in the curriculum in higher institutions of learning that is relevant to what is actually happening in the world,” added Petersen.

– reitumetsem@citizen.co.za

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