One Quarter of Africa's Population Sleeps Hungry

    23 September, 2013


    From VOA Learning English, this is the Agriculture Report.

    The United Nations Environment Program(UNEP) says 200 million Africans go to sleep hungry, that number represents 23 percent of the population on the continent. A new UN study shows that eight out of 10 countries facing the worst food shortage are in Africa.

    Recently African experts, farmers and others gathered in Kenya for two days of discussion. They debated ways to feed the growing human population in Africa and deal with rising temperatures on earth surface.

    The U.N. Climate Change Coordinator for Africa, Richard Munang was one of the speakers. He noted a need to increase food production to feed the population, but he said this must be done without putting more pressure on the environment. He said it is important to find ways to feed people without destroying forests, rivers and seas that provide food.

    At the meetings, Emmanuel Dlamini served as a negotiator for One Africa. In his opinion, climate change is here to stay, he says African government and farmers have to look for ways to deal with the changes.

    "In the negotiation, we trying to make sure such eco-base systems for food security there are available means for the countries to adopt."

    Most of the African countries depend on rain to prepare their farmland and to start growing crops. For the past few years, a lack of rainfall has affected several countries, making their populations depended on food aid.

    African farmers say that a combination of unpredictable rain and rising temperatures creates an environment for crop diseases that affects production.
    The conference also heard from a representative of Nestle, one of world's largest food companies. Nestle Africa's Hans Johr says farmers need assistance from food processing companies and non-governmental organizations to deal with challenges.

    "There is this challenge of climate change, and that is just now adding up a new dimension to the way we are interacting with our suppliers, but once again talking our suppliers these are farmers, these are mid-size farmers, but a lot of small holders they need to be trained to really understand and to cope up with these changes."

    The conference organizers and delegates have called for joint efforts from farmers, governments and the international community to increase food production. They are also seeking ways to combine food security and sustainable agriculture with continental and international policies.

    And that's the Agriculture Report from VOA Learning English, I'm Christopher Cruise.