Food Insecurity Solutions Discussed by IGAD, NDMA, ICPAC

More than half a billion people in the world are facing acute food insecurity with the largest food crises witnessed in DRC, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and Nigeria followed closely by Sudan and South Sudan. This is according to a recent report released by Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in collaboration with the Report on Food Crises (GRFC). The report further states that in 2010 about 17 million were faced with food insecurity, and the crisis has increasingly grown encroaching on 50 million.

Dr. Guilead Artan, Director of ICPAC, says it’s essential to acknowledge the gravity of the situation at hand since food is a vital component for the survival of humanity. Food is a basic need that has to be availed for consumption but hasn’t for a while now as evidenced by the 20% who are in danger of facing food insecurity within the IGAD countries.

Food insecurity as an issue is caused and driven by several factors apart from climate change that entails economic shocks that have been faced since the commencement of the Russia-Ukraine conflict causing inflation of food prices. Even though conflict remains a causative agent for food insecurity majorly up to 118 million people are affected by conflict, thereby making it hard to even produce food in the first stage of production.

Asad Mohammed, State Minister of Water & Irrigation in Somalia, reiterates that conflict is a key driver of food crises as the victims of such occurrences are left hopeless, depending on aid upon flight from the probable attacks. “Somalia, by combating insecurity, is a step ahead towards addressing the food insecurity crises as through peace, the people are able to cultivate and produce for themselves. I call on us to align our actions as we embrace in harmony the spirit of working together to effectively find a solution to this crisis,” said Asad Mohammed.

Dr. Abdi of IGAD states that out of the 8 member states of IGAD, about five members are in a situation that endangers them with a likelihood of facing an acute food shortage, which is about 30 million people in this situation. With the advent of incoming El Niño rains as predicted by scientists from this June onwards, preparations around this possibility are quite minimal, which raises the question of how ready everyone is or awaiting the occurrence to dash into action.

Dr. Chimimba Phiri from FAO Eastern Africa reiterates that for there to be resilience, there has to be exercised development within the countries rather than awaiting a response, which is more similar to extinguishing fires. “There’s a need for anticipatory action to effectively develop resilience regarding the gap in water resources that have to be well managed for sufficiency and developing better systems to avoid the loss of up to 4 million tonnes of food in harvests that can be used to feed people,” said Dr. Phiri.

According to Steven Wathome, EU Program Manager, the numbers are evidence that there have to be developed long-term solutions to low yields in production, the disruption of value chains, and inflation of food prices. He further states that out of the 258 million facing an acute food shortage, there are 35 million likely to suffer from food starvation. Further revealing that more than 18 billion has been amassed in the countries to foresee sustainable food production till 2024, amongst which 8 billion is channeled to combating food insecurity.

Challenges Faced in Addressing Food Insecurity

Despite the stabilizing of food prices in the International markets, there has been a stagnant response in the domestic markets. The resilience of countries and governments is affected highly by the high debts beheld within which is even more affected by the inflations. The transparency issue between the non-state actors, donors, and government is key since the presence of mistrust amongst the sector players limits working together capability to finding solutions. Mr. Mohammed Ahmed of the OWS Development Fund criticizes the mistrust as a hurdle to effective collaborations in the space.

A late response to emerging crises despite early warnings that call for the deployment of earlier interventions to avert the crises in the early, acute, and alarming stages. Dr. Amos Nyakeio of NDMA emphasizes the need for developing early intervention measures to respond to crises than wait on the emergency level before springing to action.

Failure to include the society members/indigenous communities in developing solutions to the challenges around their locals. “These projects no matter how good on paper fail in actualization because there’s limited understanding of the problem by a project developer as compared to a local in the region,” said Mr. Mohammed Ahmed.

The reluctance in the translation of commitments into actions as the public and institutions view this food insecurity as an issue for the government instead of taking part in solving the challenge at hand. Politicians lack the political goodwill to decipher and delve deeper into finding the best solutions for the food insecurity that’s incessantly becoming a tragedy. Failure to interlink the crises faced that is from food insecurity, unemployment, droughts, malnutrition, climate change, gender matters, etc., instead trying to address each issue single-handedly.

Solutions to Food Insecurity

The crisis of food is crucial and thus calls for commitment, unification, and strengthening of the journey to 2030, a vision whose achievement or failure to meet will be for everyone in the globe as it will declare more harm to humanity. A structure has to be developed around problems faced that entail the growth of drought-resistant crops, risk transfer to evade further droughts causing harm, and proving a challenge.

Setting up more weather stations in diverse regions to aid the predictions that in turn determine actions or steps taken in response to the oncoming weather patterns.

Towards the achievement of zero hunger, there has to be an interlinking of these issues faced. Mr. Siddarth Krishanway said that in order for the development of a solution that’s way viable for the building of resilience amongst the people, these crises have to be interlinked to be addressed.

Data is vital in the development of more viable solutions and actions in certain periods; hence, through research funding, there will be an increase in developing more suitable preventive measures for situations like droughts.

Bold measures have to be put in place to fully attend to the crisis at hand that is from sustainable food production that will assist ensure issues like low yields and harvest loss are addressed. There has to be a well-managed system around the harnessing of resources that will enable the incorporation of private partnerships in the development of systems that address food production diversely.

As Quoted by the late Kofi Annan; ‘It’s only in partnerships that the possibility of finding solutions remains vast.’

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