About 224 million people are now reportedly under-nourished on the continent, an increase of over 20 million in recent years.
The reasons for this are complicated, but related to the increasing pressures of extreme weather events. Rising temperatures and a greater prevalence of droughts across the continent has led to repeated crop failures.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN has warned that hunger in Africa is being made worse by the impacts of climate change.
At a recent conference in Sudan, Bukar Tijani, the FAO’s African representative said that: “Under-nourishment appears to have increased from about 21 percent to nearly 23 percent between 2015 and 2016,”
“Over the same period, the number of under-nourished rose from 200 million to 224 million in Africa. This is a cause of concern for all of us.”
“He said this very strongly is related to climate change. We had floods, we had droughts and we had crop failures”,
In addition, conflicts in Somalia, South Sudan and the Central African Republic have also increased hunger and food insecurity:
Bukar added that those conflicts, has also brought challenges because even when food is available it is not affordable and it cannot reach those conflict areas.”
This is potentially devastating for countries which remain heavily reliant on agriculture as a route out of poverty.
However, the FAO commented that Africa’s economy was improving with the agricultural sector being a large contributor to its success.
Many countries are also successfully adapting to climate change through a combination of new sustainable agricultural methods. These include utilizing mobile technology, crop scheduling, drip irrigation, and making infrastructure more resilient to extreme weather events.
The FAO’s Director-General José Graziano da Silva, also spoke at a recent forum that “..with improved and climate-smart practices, we can quickly put in place more sustainable and greener livestock supply chains”, concluding that “a low-carbon livestock sector is possible to achieve”.