A Lesson on Food Independence and Security in Africa

Published on 26th April 2022

As per the Al Jazeera (11 April, 2022), the Ukraine conflict’s likely to adversely impact on African countries vis-a-vis food independence and security. I didn’t know that Africa still depends on a small country like Ukraine for its supply of wheat. This doesn’t add up for a country that covers only 603, 628 km2 compared to Africa’s 30,370, 000 km2 to feed Africa.  Something is wrong somewhere. What does Africa supply to Ukraine that it produces? 

Africa’s goofs and quandaries need profound explanations to understand. It doesn’t convince common sense for the country that’s 1/50 of Africa to feed Africa.

The other day I read somewhere that countries in West Africa were importing onions from the EU! I also read somewhere that Kenya, despite being surrounded by the mighty Lake Nyanza, was importing septic fish from China whereas some Chinese traders were exporting clean fish from Kenya to China! How do you call this folly and futility?

How come while African countries such as Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Zambia, and Zimbabwe, all except Kenya, Madagascar and Botswana are bigger than Ukraine grow wheat, yet this tiny country beat them? What’s wrong? As per Gro Intelligence (16 April, 2015), the World Bank identified 3.84 million hectares of land suitable for wheat production in Sub-Saharan Africa, the vast majority of which is in East Africa. This is almost equal to the amount of land dedicated to the cultivation of wheat in Argentina, one of the world’s major producers of the crop.

I don’t get it for a humongous country like Sudan covering the area of 1, 886,068 km2 to starve simply because a country like Ukraine that’s less than 1/3 of the same is at war and thus can’t feed it. Is the problem here natural or nurtured? What are all heads of Sudanese as a replica of Africa doing? Ironically, while Sudan is starving and weeping, the same has leased out its land to Gulf countries to produce food for their citizens!           

Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s founder, used to say that for the country to develop, it needs three things namely land, people and good policies. What is missing here? Sudan like Africa has the land, people and policies. What else is missing? Are our people abnormal? Is our land barren? Are our policies wanting? The first two are okay. The third ingredient seems to be the matter. It is the missing link. Our policies are abnormal so to speak.

Many African countries have tons and tons of rulers but they’re bankrupt when it comes to leaders and sound policies. What do you expect from such shameless men and women who take pride in aid and begging even from smaller countries by land and people than theirs? When will Africa see the light? The needle sews many clothes, but it is forever naked. The spoon scoops tons and tons of food yet, it is forever hungry. Who wants such a life?

In sum, Africa should learn from the Ukraine conflict and start rethinking its future, frugality, and above all, loathing and stopping dependency and extravagance. We’ve what it takes to feed ourselves.

By Nkwazi Mhango

Lifetime member of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL), an expert in Terrorism and author of over 20 books among which are Africa Reunite or Perish, 'Is It Global War on Terrorism' or Global War over Terra Africana? How Africa Developed Europe

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