The convergence of the climate crisis and rising food imports in Africa is a recipe for catastrophe. Unless actions are taken to build up local food systems and reverse the growing reliance on imports of cereals and other staple foods, there will be multiple and more severe repeats of the 2007-8 food crisis that caused food riots across the continent.
African governments and donors have wasted the past decade on failed programmes and policies to support corporate agribusiness while doing little to effectively challenge the corporations that are dumping surplus food commodities, driving up global greenhouse gas emissions and destroying biodiversity. Now, movements for climate justice and African food producers must urgently join forces to eliminate the dependence on food imports and realise food sovereignty across the continent to respond to the climate crisis.
For Africa, the climate crisis is a food crisis
Africa's food forecast over the next decades is troubling. The continent will need more food to cope with a growing population that the United Nations projects will rise from 1.2 billion to 1.7 billion over the next decade. But, as this demand for food surges ahead, the increasing effects of climate change will make food production on the continent more difficult. Estimates are that global warming could cause a 10% - 20% reduction in Africa's overall food production.
Processing of local rice by a women’s cooperative in Dioro, Mali. Photo: FAO/Michela Paganini