"Nichts mehr davon, ich bitt euch. Zu essen gebt ihm, zu wohnen.
Habt ihr die Blöße bedeckt, gibt sich die Würde von selbst."
Friedrich Schiller
  May 2008 FOOD

African Nations Scrambling for Food amid Hyperinflation, Shortages

Prior to the just-begun International Conference on African Development in Tokyo, the global food crisis forced several African nations to take desperate measures in order to feed their populations, amid skyrocketting food prices and shortages.

West Africa:

  • Liberia will receive fertilizers, pesticides, and seeds from China by July. In addition, the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister said Chinese agricultural experts will be sent to Liberia during the dry season to help teach Liberian farmers modern farming methods. As a short-term measure, China's government has also agreed to help Liberia secure more stockpiles of rice.

  • Benin, where an estimated 23% of children under five years old show signs of moderately stunted growth, the government has released cereals it keeps in reserve onto the market, but prices have kept rising. Benin Agriculture Minister Roger Dovonou is pushing for food self-sufficiency, which he said would require more than doubling of current production.

  • Nigeria and South Korea have signed an agreement to set up a rice processing mill in a bid to boost production, to be completed by next year, with South Korea providing $1.8 million in funding.
Eastern Africa:
  • Kenya authorized the importation of 270,000 tons of maize, likely from South Africa, in a bid to replenish dwindling reserves. The U.N. World Food Program warned it might have to cut by almost half the number of malnourished children in its school feeding program, eliminating some 550,000 children.
Southern Africa:
  • Namibia: The Cabinet, after a 3-day retreat, has tasked the Office of the Prime Minister to investigate appropriate intervention measures that would lessen the impact of rising fuel and food prices. Separately, at a public meeting, there were calls for exempting staple foods from value-added tax and urging self-sufficiency, through higher crop production.