Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 38–46 | Cite as

Conceptualizing hunger in contemporary African policymaking: From technical to community-based approaches

  • Christopher B. Barrett
  • Joanne Csete


This paper explains and offers a criticism of the technical solutions that have been proposed in recent years to address Africa's hunger problems, summarizes selected results of some of these approaches, and suggests a more useful conceptualization of African hunger for policymakers. Hunger is a problem with multifactorial causality. As such, it is not given to solution by the sequence of reductionist approaches that have been applied in recent years. Widespread adoption by African governments of ultimately unsuccessful reductionist conceptualizations of hunger has had much to do with foreign aid dependency, the general absence from central policymaking circles of senior government officials with responsibility for hunger-related policies, and political preference for centralized bureaucracy. The paper concludes with some recommendations for community-based strategies of hunger alleviation.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher B. Barrett
  • Joanne Csete

There are no affiliations available

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