Date: 15 Jun 2009

Characteristics and Determinants of Food Insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Abstract

This chapter discusses the persistence of food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa. Although pervasive poverty and low agricultural productivity are important factors in understanding food insecurity in the region, broader global processes are examined. It is argued therefore that, while poverty undermines individual and household access to sufficient food through market purchase, land inequalities, corruption, structural adjustment programs, civil conflict, HIV/AIDS and the role of the World Trade Organization Agreement on Agriculture are decisive. The chapter reveals that control over key policy decisions in the agriculture sector is increasingly taken from national states. Achieving food security in sub-Saharan Africa requires policies and actions that are integrated with efforts to reduce poverty, enhance livelihoods and incomes, and increase agricultural output while also paying attention to underlying structural factors that bear on agriculture in the region.