DR Congo #2 in Food Insecurity

Much attention has been focused recently on the famine crisis in the Horn of Africa countries--and rightly so. Somalia has suffered through a drought that exceeds any in the past sixty years. There and in other stricken places in eastern Africa, an estimated 12 million people are in urgent need of food assistance. But a new report by Maplecroft, a leading company in global risk analysis, puts the DR Congo at number 2 on its food insecurity index, behind only Somalia. In fact, much of sub-Saharan Africa is listed as vulnerable to food insecurity. The study looked at 196 countries, using 12 indicators to measure forces such as climate, economics, conflict, and other pressures both natural and man-made. In Congo, the continuing violence in the eastern part of the country is a main reason for its crisis ranking on the list. Lack of functioning infrastructure is also listed as a risk factor, and that certainly is a problem in Congo. Seeing Congo in this light adds a new perspective to what we're doing in Farmers to Markets. We created that microfinance program as a way to bring cash incomes into the Ubangi region in northwest Congo, and it's doing that. But in the process, we're also helping farmers in the fertile Equateur province to grow more food, and developing systems for moving that food into the cities, including Kinshasa. We may end up helping to address food vulnerability as well! For the full article, see "Somalia, DR Congo top Maplecroft's food security risk ranking – Horn of Africa food crisis heightened by man-made factors" on the Maplecroft website. SAJ   7 Sep 2011

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