The first ever African human development report for 2012 has revealed that despite impressive statistics on economic growth, food security improvements in sub-Saharan Africa have not been commensurate with the high economic growth rates.
The report which has been released by the un system in Zambia under the theme of “towards food secure future” shows that the region is still insecure and has the highest prevalence of hunger in the world with more than one in four Africans being undernourished.
The report notes that this is despite the sub-Saharan Africa having ample agricultural land, abundant of water and general a favorable climate for growing a variety of food and cash crops, rearing of livestock and fish products.
The first ever African human development report of 2012 analyses the dichotomy between the rapid economic growth which Zambia and indeed a number of sub-Saharan African countries have recorded and the challenges of food insecurity.
The report attributes the main causes of food insecurity to high levels of rural poverty, low agricultural yields, poor infrastructure, limitations in access to health and education services especially in rural areas and this is coupled with food price volatility, erratic weather patterns and violent conflicts.
It also further highlights high levels of inequality, skewed control over resources and access to opportunities especially for women and international and national policy deficiencies, weak institutions and inefficient markets.
However the report argues that sub-Saharan Africa can build a food secure the future for all its people by improving agricultural productivity through the sustainable increase in yields as this will increase food production and generate income and employment.
And speaking during the launch of the report agriculture and livestock minister Emmanuel chenda says government is cognizant of the many serious challenges currently affecting the agricultural sector in the country.
Mr. chenda explains that among the key challenges are low investment in the sector, low productivity especially among small holder farmers and the challenge of climate change.
He says inadequate extension services, poor infrastructure such as road network, inadequate storage facilities, limited access to electricity, high prevalence of livestock diseases, over-exploitation of fisheries resources and poor functioning agricultural markets are other challenges.