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Food Insecurity In Africa Should Be Addressed Through Economics, ‘Context Of The Wider Food System’

The Conversation: What’s driving sub-Saharan Africa’s malnutrition problem?
Jane Battersby, researcher in urban food security at the University of Cape Town

“Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest level of food insecurity in the world. An estimated 220 million people lack adequate nutrition. … Current policy focuses on alleviating undernutrition through increased production and access to food. It does not focus on the systemic issues that inform the food choices people make. This may result in worsening food insecurity in the region. … Food insecurity is driven by the economics and the geographies of the food system. … In the region, 33 percent of adults are overweight and a further 11 percent are obese. … The poor eat badly because it makes economic sense for them to do so. … Food insecurity in Africa needs to be understood in the context of the wider food system, as well as in the way that food connects to economic and other practices. There needs to be a radical reconfiguration of food security policy that moves away from focusing on production and household poverty alleviation to consider the nature and dynamics of the food system…” (3/2).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.