Politics of Food Distribution: Role of the Church in Africa

Politics of Food Distribution: Role of the Church in Africa

Charles Anozie Anyanwu (Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0125-2.ch009

Abstract

The chapter discusses politics of food distribution (Acts 6: 1-6) and the role of the church in Africa. The work contends that the church in Africa has not done enough in ameliorating or solving the food crisis resulting from inadequate food production and distribution systems. The purpose of the work is to explicate the politics of food distribution as represented in Acts 6:1-6 and make recommendations to the church in Africa. The methods of investigation are exegesis of the Acts of the Apostles 6: 1-6 and review of existing works. Major findings from the study suggest that politics of food distribution was caused by many factors namely: population growth, racism, ethnocentrism, and discrimination. The chapter recommends that the church should mobilize her human and material resources to enhance food production and distribution for her members and nonmembers. Policies and mechanisms to improve food distribution were suggested.
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Introduction

Food is essential for human survival. This chapter examines politics of food distribution and the role of the church in Africa. It demonstrates that the issue of food distribution systems in Africa is far from being efficient and effective. The chapter is structured as follows; Background, Theoretical framework and methodology, conceptual issues and review of the literature, food distribution and accessibility, food distribution and health problem, food distribution and food sovereignty. Other items that received attention in the study include Issues and problems of politics of food distribution in Acts of the Apostles 6:1-6, explication of the text of from Acts 6:1-6 in relation to contemporary food distribution, handling politics of food distribution in Acts of the Apostles 6, food distribution and African Church, lessons for the church in Africa, solutions and recommendations, further research directions and conclusion.

Background

Food is one of the most essential needs of human beings from the creation till now. God knows that human beings will need food, the scripture says: “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed (Genesis 2:8).

And God said, see, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed, to you it shall be for food.

Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food, and it was so (Genesis 1:29,30).

Food is humans’ sustaining source and succor. The importance of food to human beings lies in the fact that without food, human race will go into extinction. That is the reason God from the time He created mankind provided adequate food .

The food God provided for mankind at creation was adequate in terms of variety and nutrients. The Genesis account informs that God gave mankind every herb that yields seed and every tree whose fruit yields seed for food (v.29). Mankind was provided and given healthy and nutritious vegetables, fruits and seeds for food. In this regard, Andrew and Wise (2016:2) concurred to the afore mentioned fact and posit that; “ one of the most important ways that God shows His love for creatures is by feeding them. Food is God’s love made nutritious and delicious.” The importance of food and feeding is so crucial in the scripture that we observe God providing food for mankind He created. Jesus in the Gospel also fed the multitude;

Then Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way. And He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude. So they all ate and were filled… Now those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children (Mathew 15: 32, 35, 36, 37 38).

In the earthly ministry and mission of Jesus Christ, the savior, He operated holistic ministry of meeting the “felt needs” and the “real needs” of persons that came in contact with Him. It is worthy of note that He met the needs of persons physically and spiritually without discrimination. In the feeding of the multitude, four thousand were men, but women and children who were not usually counted in social setting in the Jewish community equally were fed. Jesus did not neglect the women and children in Matthew’s account, neither did He, Jesus discriminate against them in His programmes and policies.

The chapter focuses on the politics of food distribution as mirrored in the book of Acts chapter 6: 1-6 to examine the role of the church in Africa. The chapter contends that the church in Africa should rise to the challenges posed by hunger, poverty and discrimination in the continent. This should be done by being involved in the food system, particularly in ensuring just and fair food distribution among the numerous peoples of Africa and since food is a basic need of everybody, every person must be involved in its production, regulation, and distribution so that it will reach the targeted population which include the needy, hungry and poor in the African society. The chapter posits that sustainable food consumption entails fair and equitable food system. In this regard, Drakakis-smith (1991) asserts that food is the most basic of the needs of the urban poor in developing countries such as Africa and yet little is known and done about the supply and distribution mechanism through which such needs are met. Consequently, the church in Africa as God’s agent of transformation and change must contribute its quota in making sure that there is adequate supply of food in the African community.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Racism: The unfair dealing with who belong to a different race.

Hellenist: A person who has imbibed Greek culture and language. A person who is born by Greek parents.

Africa: The continent South of Europe with the largest number of black people.

Neglect: Failure to take care of somebody or something properly and promptly.

Distribution: The manner of sharing something among group of people in a particular area.

Role: Function or duty that someone is supposed to perform.

Politics: Something done to get and use power in public life. Ability to influence decision that affect group of people.

Church: The assembly of persons who are called out from the world to serve God.

Food: Something that persons or animals eat for survival.

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