Food crisis, unfortunately, is a commonly used phrase in Africa. Every year most of the countries in the continent face a period where a good number of their population is starving. The number of Africans facing starvation is at 226.7 million. This is larger than the population of Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa.

Countries in the Sub Saharan Africa are the most prone to food crisis. In Kenya alone, up to 24% of the population is unable to obtain safe, nutritious and sufficient food during the crisis.  This brings the number to about 12 million Kenyans who are undernourished. At the moment, the number of Kenyans facing extreme hunger is expected to go up to 2.5 million in July.

There are a few reasons that are cited as the major causes of food crisis in Africa. The continent is a place not short of problems and one of them is drought. Unreliable rain patterns and the general climate of certain regions often leads to a shortage of agricultural produce which in turn leads to a food crisis.

Various parts of Africa also often experience armed conflict, be it from political instability or intercommunity disagreements. During these periods individuals can hardly produce from agriculture or work to earn a living. As such, they are unable to sustain themselves or their families and hence they face starvation.

Poverty is another rampant issue in Africa. In the Sub Saharan region of Africa, about 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. This makes it one of the poorest regions in the world, along with Southern Asia. With these levels of economic hardships, the population is bound to face starvation as it can hardly fend for itself.

Africa also faces problems like disease pandemics. There is a widespread infection of AIDS and diseases like malaria which in many case end the lives of individuals who would act as breadwinners for families. This at times leaves members of the said families facing starvation as well.

Population growth is another major issue which leads to food crises in countries. Most African countries have populations they can hardly fend for comfortably. This is a recurrent problem that leaves most of these countries relying on food aids from international organizations and foreign countries.

Of all these issues, the most obvious one that the most affected countries state is drought. Poor climate and unreliable rain patterns is indeed a major factor. However, considering that some of the least affected countries in Africa are in the Saharan region, it begs the question, “Are the affected countries doing their best to avoid these food crises?” Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria are mostly covered by arid areas yet only about 5% or less of their population face food shortages.

One good reason for the food crisis in Africa is poor planning. It is because of this that most countries almost fully rely on rain for their agriculture. This easily leads to a food crisis because rain patterns are unreliable in many cases and that leaves them with poor yearly harvests that can hardly sustain the population.

Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria use irrigation systems for most of their agriculture and employ the use of technology that in the end boosts the amount of their produce. This is a system that most African countries should adopt as it is most likely to reduce the level of food scarcity and ensure a better fed population. Irrigation would reduce over reliance on the unreliable rain and using technology is very likely to increase the level of produce as it has done for the least affected countries.

Better planning also means the affected countries should try and produce as much as they can in bumper seasons and save for drought seasons. This would ensure the population is well fed all year long.