Having long suffered from the stereotype linking it to famine, many countries of the African continent are heading towards a real food crisis that threatens the lives of millions, in light of the local and global measures imposed by the Corona pandemic.
The Spanish newspaper El Pais said that the outbreak of the Corona virus in all countries of Africa threatens to dismantle the entire food system due to restrictions imposed throughout the world, such as the closure of borders, the suspension of air and maritime movement and the quarantine of millions of people.
Helen Pasquire, Head of Food Security at Action Against Hunger, expressed concern about the implications of the Corona crisis for African countries in conflict, such as the Sahel states, and other countries in the eastern continent that are now witnessing the spread of the Desert Locust.
Several international organizations and health and food experts have warned that the impact of the epidemic could cause a global food crisis, especially in developing countries where the highest proportion of people suffer from malnutrition.
Programs of relief organizations operating in Africa will be affected by the anti-Corona measures, which will negatively affect the conditions of refugees and displaced persons (European)
About 60% of Africans work in agriculture, and in many countries, the main planting season begins now, which means that they must obtain seeds, fertilizers and other inputs, and if this is not possible in the current circumstances, it will be a new indication of a real food crisis looming.
Many families in Africa depend on remittances from relatives residing in other countries, in general, especially in Europe, which in turn has been affected by the repercussions of the crisis resulting from the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
The fears of the internally displaced persons and the refugees who are already suffering from difficulties in obtaining the necessary nutrition are increasing among the camp residents, and these difficulties may be exacerbated by the restrictions imposed by the governments on the movement of relief organizations within the framework of the measures designed to combat the spread of this pandemic.
The distribution of food assistance to refugees and displaced persons is affected by the emergency measures imposed by a number of African countries, which stipulate the principle of social isolation and avoiding major gatherings.
Lula Castro, the World Food Programme's regional coordinator, called on the governments of African countries to provide immediate economic assistance to all people who have lost their jobs due to quarantine and are unable to meet their food needs.
According to the regional coordinator, Africa is very different from Europe, and people staying indoors for several days is very difficult, and there are some of them who say "I will die of hunger instead of the Corona virus because I do not have the money to buy my basic food basket."
In this context, the governments of some countries in the poor continent (South Africa, Namibia ...) decided to provide financial assistance to those who lost their jobs, along with other facilities such as tax exemptions.
The food official expressed concern about countries such as Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and invited the private sector to participate in efforts to combat the virus.
For his part, Abibi Haile-Gabriel, Africa's representative to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), was surprised by the silence around the food crisis looming as a result of government measures to contain Corona, and called on the continent's agriculture ministers to take urgent measures to address the crisis without compromising efforts to contain Corona.