famine in Africa

Topics: Famine, Food security, Poverty Pages: 25 (7946 words) Published: March 12, 2014
“AFRICA” the continent that some say witnessed the birth of the first human civilizations may be dying because of the spreading pandemic called famine. In this paper I begin by introducing the topic of famine in Africa, as well as an overview of its underlying causes and possible solutions. I then will proceed by giving the statement of the problem, thereafter; state the rationale of the study. Chapter one further presents the objectives of the study and also shows the methodology that was applied. As a way of summarizing, chapter one also presents the general structure of the entire proposal. Historians of African famine have documented repeated famines in Ethiopia. Possibly, the worst episode occurred in 1888 and succeeding years, as the epizootic rinderpest, introduced into Eritrea by infected cattle, spread southwards reaching ultimately as far as South Africa. In Ethiopia it was estimated that as much as 90 percent of the national herd died, rendering rich farmers and herders destitute overnight. The great famine that afflicted Ethiopia from 1888 to 1892 cost it roughly one-third of its population (Wolde-Georgis, 1997). In the first half of the twentieth century, apart from a few notable counter-examples such as the famine in Rwanda during World War II and the Malawi famine of 1949, most famines were localized and brief food shortages. The spectre of famine recurred only in the early 1970s, when Ethiopia and the West African Sahel suffered famine. The Ethiopian famine of that time was closely linked to the crisis of feudalism in that country, and in due course helped to bring about the downfall of the Emperor Haile Selassie. The Sahelian famine was associated with the slowly growing crisis of pastoralism in Africa, which has seen livestock herding decline as a viable way of life. Since then, African famines became more frequent, more widespread and more severe. Many African countries are not self-sufficient in food production, relying on income from cash crops to import food. To add on the famine of Karamoja, Uganda in 1980 carries one of the worst mortality rates which have been recently recorded: 21 percent of the population of Karamoja died, including 60 percent of infants. AIDS is also having long-term economic effects on agriculture by reducing the available workforce, and is creating new vulnerabilities to famine by overburdening poor households. 1.1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

1.1.1 Problem Identification
The problem that was identified was the high levels of famine in Africa despite all the efforts to eradicate famine. 1.1.2 Nature of the Problem.
In Africa famine has reached unprecedented and disproportion levels. More than 12 million people are afflicted with hunger in Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Sudan, and Uganda. In Somalia nearly a half its population is facing a humanitarian crisis (3.7 million people). One in three children is malnourished. This has been reported as one of the worst crises to hit Eastern Africa in almost six decades. It’s shocking to see the images of emaciated children sucking empty breasts of mothers weak with hunger. The elderly appear very weak and unable to walk. Hunger stricken victims have fled and are forced to walk great distances in search of basic provisions.

Many attribute the origin of this preventable situation to poor governance, corruption, over population, climate change, dependency syndrome on food aid from foreign assistance and so on. The main root causes of famine remains the dependency of African agriculture on the weather, particularly the rain. This heavy dependence, not only reduces the number of harvest per year, but also gives little freedom to the farmer for proper planning.

Several years ago, rain fed agriculture was not an issue in Africa, since entire community could migrate from drought areas to greener pastures. This is no longer the case as no free land is available any more. All Sub-Saharan Africa countries are...
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