Prospects, Challenges, and Policy Directions for Food Security in India-Africa Agricultural Trade

Prospects, Challenges, and Policy Directions for Food Security in India-Africa Agricultural Trade

Ishita Ghosh (Symbiosis International University (Deemed), India), Sukalpa Chakrabarti (Symbiosis International University (Deemed), India) and Ishita Ghoshal (Fergusson College (Autonomous), India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1042-1.ch020
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This chapter focusses on the agricultural and investment potential between Sub-Saharan Africa and India, in order to combat food insecurity. There is much scope for meaningful collaboration with governments and public-private partnerships, which could be instrumental in reducing hunger and poverty and managing the adverse effects of climate change. Increasing inclusivity, devising sustainable land-holding policies, incentivizing exporters, knowledge sharing in terms of technology and expertise will also boost employability, production and trade potential. Moreover, effective financial and technical cooperation between India and the African countries may be the key to achieving the desired synergies that will bring about positive changes towards ensuring food security.
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It is a well-documented fact that hunger is on the rise in large regions of the world. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has found that those facing chronic food deprivation has increased to nearly 821 million in 2017 from around 804 million in 2016, and is still rising. The proportion of malnourished population in the world was projected to have reached a worrisome 10.9% in 2017. The perpetual economic and climatic precariousness across the globe has ended up in grave challenges with respect to food security. Some of the worst affected parts of the world include regions of South America and Africa.

Africa is still affected by the highest prevalence of undernourishment (PoU). Approximately, 21% of the population in the continent have been victims of food insecurity. The condition is also worsening in South America with PoU rising from 4.7% in 2014 to 5.0% in 2017. Although the projected PoU for Asia has slowed down, it is unlikely that without extraordinary measures, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target of wiping out food insecurity in any form will be achieved by 2030, especially in Asia and Africa. Complex socio-economic situations that involve chronic malnourishment cannot be addressed by a single stakeholder alone. Since the underlying causes lay in a variety of economic sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure, social security, international trade and markets, it will require very strong local, national, and global level actions such that policies and programs are beneficial for all.

Africa is the most food-insecure region of the world, constantly battling against acute and chronic hunger. Inadequate infrastructure, lack of investments, and extreme poverty have propagated the malnutrition issue to frightful levels. However, the dependency on agriculture still remains at the heart of the problem. While nearly two-thirds of Africa’s population make a living through agriculture, the sector contributes less than one-third to the continent’s GDP. Although its importance in the economy differs widely across African countries, agriculture remains a prominent sector for most of them. Additionally, a projected 38% of Africa’s working youth are presently employed in agriculture (Bojang & Ndeso-Atanga, 2013; Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD], 2016).

The natural resources of Africa are greatly underutilized, although the continent produces a large variety of staple food crops and some traditional crops that are high in global demand (coffee, cocoa, tobacco, palm oil, sugar, etc.) (Achancho, 2013; PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2015). In spite of natural endowments, large parts of the continent face acute poverty and hence, hunger. While there are large tracts of agricultural land at their disposal, the levels of mechanization, rainwater harvesting, use of fertilizers, storage and distribution networks and such like facilities still remain the lowest in the world. Given the urgent need for cross border investments, collaborations, and cooperation, the African case needs no special argument in support of these. Also, it has been noted that India and Pakistan have the highest import duties for agricultural goods from most parts of Africa, barring sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This has raised a lot of questions in terms of the level of cooperation that exists for potentially addressing food security (Stroh de Martinez, Feddersen, & Speicher, 2016; The World Bank, n.d.).

Key Terms in this Chapter

South-South and Triangular Cooperation: South-South cooperation is a broad framework of collaboration among countries of the South in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical domains. Involving two or more developing countries, it can take place on a bilateral, regional, intraregional or interregional basis. Triangular cooperation is collaboration in which traditional donor countries and multilateral organizations facilitate South-South initiatives through the provision of funding, training, management and technological systems as well as other forms of support.

Agricultural Trade: A reliance on exchanging agricultural and food commodities to supplement and complement domestic production.

Agricultural Investment: The expenditures on agriculture including short-term costs as well as long-term investments. Investment in agriculture includes government expenditures directed to agricultural infrastructure, research and development, and education and training.

India-Africa Institute of Agriculture and Rural Development: A Pan-African Institute wherein trainees not only from Malawi but also from other African countries, will receive training to develop their human resources and build their capacity. The Institute will develop training programs in the areas of micro-financing and agro-financing, among others. The entire expenditure on faculty from India, travel, logistics, and training course expenses for students from other African countries will be borne by the Government of India for an initial period of three years.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. According to the United Nations, it consists of all African countries that are fully or partially located south of the Sahara. The UN Development Program lists 46 of Africa’s 54 countries as sub-Saharan, excluding Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan, and Tunisia.

Food Security: A situation when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life.

Food and Agriculture Organization: A specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. The goal of the organization is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active healthy lives. With over 194 member states, it works in over 130 countries worldwide.

Indo-Japan Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC): An economic cooperation agreement between the governments of India, Japan, and multiple African countries. It aims for Indo-Japanese collaboration to develop quality infrastructure in Africa, complemented by digital connectivity, which would undertake the realization of the idea of creating free and open Indo-Pacific Region. The AAGC will give priority to development projects in health and pharmaceuticals, agriculture and agro-processing, disaster management and skill enhancement. The connectivity aspects of the AAGC will be supplemented with quality infrastructure.

State of Food Insecurity (SOFI): The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World is an annual flagship report jointly prepared by FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO to inform on progress towards ending hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition and to provide in-depth analysis on key challenges for achieving this goal in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report targets a wide audience, including policy-makers, international organizations, academic institutions, and the general public.

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Consultancy Service (NABCONS): A wholly owned subsidiary promoted by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and is engaged in providing consultancy in all spheres of agriculture, rural development, and allied areas. NABCONS leverages on the core competence of the NABARD in the areas of agricultural and rural development, especially multidisciplinary projects, banking, institutional development, infrastructure, training, etc., internalized for more than two decades.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): A universal call through UNDP to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

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