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International Food Security: Insufficient Efforts by Host Governments and Donors Threaten Progress to Halve Hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2015

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Persistent food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa is primarily due to several factors, including low agricultural productivity, limited rural development, government policy disincentives, and the impact of poor health on the agricultural workforce. Additional factors, including rising global commodity prices and climate change, will likely further exacerbate food insecurity in the region. The gap between the average grain yield in sub- Saharan Africa compared with the rest of the worlds developing countries has widened over the years, and, by 2006, the yield in sub-Saharan Africa was only about 40 percent of that of the rest of the world s developing countries. Low agricultural productivity is due, in part, to the limited use of agricultural inputs, such as fertilizer and improved seed varieties, and the lack of modern farming practices. Poor roads and lack of access to credit make it difficult for farmers to effectively participate in local and regional markets to increase their income. Moreover, some government policies, such as high taxation on agriculture, have a negative impact on agricultural production and food security. For example, Tanzanian farmers must pay about 55 taxes, levies, and fees to sell their agricultural products, equivalent to 50 percent of the price the farmers receive. Poor health also exacerbates food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa through its adverse impact on the agricultural workforce, according to panels in the four countries we visited. For example, the human immunodeficiency virus HIV has taken a heavy toll on the population and agricultural production of sub-Saharan Africa, because two thirds of those in the world who have HIV live in that region. In addition, rising global commodity prices and climate change will likely further exacerbate food insecurity in sub- Saharan Africa.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Food, Food Service and Nutrition

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