‘For I was hungry and you fed me’ (Matthew 25:35 NLT)
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised serious concerns about food security in Africa. From the start of the pandemic, it has been feared that economic recession, along with disruptions to food supply chains, would leave Africa on the brink of starvation.
Africa imports more food than it exports, and relies on countries like India, Russia, Cambodia, and Vietnam for staple grains. Fortunately, the initial pandemic-related export ban from these countries was lifted, and grain exports to Africa were resumed. During 2020, various African governments and organisations also took action to increase Africa’s grain imports.
But increased grain imports have not been able to compensate for the impact of the pandemic, which has reversed years of economic development in Africa. Widespread job losses have led to food insecurity. This has been compounded in some regions by ongoing conflict, locust plagues, droughts and floods.
As a result, over 100 million people in Africa are currently experiencing catastrophic levels of food insecurity.
100 million is overwhelming. But each one is an individual – with a basic human need to eat. And to feed their family.
Last year, beneficiaries of Ghana’s WIN project were equipped with the skills and equipment to safely process cassava into “gari” (flour made from the cassava root). Rachel Ohene describes how this vocational training project helped her feed her family during 2020’s COVID lockdown:
“This project could not have come at a better time than this. Little did we know that gari was going to become the food saviour for Ghana this year. African Enterprise, God bless you for your foresight. You came in at the right time to offer us the right job. May the Lord richly bless the donors of AE. Their generosity has been a mind-blower. I have decided to buy the raw material – cassava from the farmers in and around Akropong so that I can process it to gari with the help of the milling machine AE has provided. I know in the coming days gari will be in high demand.”
In 2021, AE is preparing to launch a vocational training program in Togo which will provide skills, seeds and equipment so that needy participants can start vegetable-growing businesses.
Because they were hungry. And Jesus simply told us to feed them.
Ben Campbell (Sydney) is the CEO Africa Enterprise.