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Local farmers supplying less food to Africa's cities

Domestic agriculture production is waning, causing Africa's growing cities to import food from elsewhere. (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia/Flickr/cc)

Who’s feeding Africa’s burgeoning urban population? Not local farmers, Christine Mungai reports for Mail & Guardian Africa.

African cities spend disproportionately on food imports to compensate for waning domestic production, Mungai says. Part of the reason is harvests are being stutnted by climate change, soil erosion and development. Another factor is trucking cartels that charge exorbitant fees to haul goods from rural areas to cities.

The consequences are more than economic. “The troubles facing the agricultural sector partly explains why Africa’s recent economic boom has done little to reduce hunger in the continent,” Mungai writes. Research indicates that strengthening Africa’s farming is among the most effective ways to curb poverty.

In 2011, African nations spent $35 billion on imported food — with intra-Africa trade only accounting for a paltry five percent of that, the article says. That’s a significant reversal from just a decade-and-a-half ago, when Africa was a “net exporter” of food. 


Mail & Guardian Africa

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