Causes of food shortage in Africa

Most third world countries underwent colonialism. This greatly weakened their
economies, which explains why most of them had very poor food situations by the time
they got their independence.




The main causes of food shortage in Africa.

  • Population growth rate that is higher than that of food production.
  • Poor land use and inefficient agricultural practices.
  • Adverse climatic or weather conditions e.g. floods and long spells of drought.
  • Desertification or formation of wasteland due to destructive human activities e.g. deforestation, overgrazing and pollution.
  • Concentration on cash crop growing, with least or no attention to cultivation of food crops.




  • rural-urban migration, whereby the innovative young people leave farms in the countryside to search for better means of livelihood in towns.
  • Lack of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Political instability arising from coups as well as civil and international wars, which causes diversion of attention from production to dependence.
  • Declining popularity of indigenous crops like cassava, yams, millet and sorghum, which are resistant to drought and diseases. farmers have resorted to cultivation of exotic crops like maize, rice and wheat, which may be unsuitable for particular areas, causing artificial food shortage.
  • Poor or lack of storage facilities, which leads to great postharvest losses.




  • Foreign debt burden as well as over-reliance on foreign aid, which have created a Dependency syndrome and apathy towards problem solving.
  • Poor economic planning as governments have no sound food policies. Government funds are often put to development of unviable industrial projects.
  • Poor land tenure systems, whereby, in most countries, most arable land is in the hands of a few influential people while more industrious farmers own very small pieces, which they have exhausted due to overuse.
  • The HIV-AIDS scourge, which has caused death of many among the work force, who are in their prime years and are economically productive, particularly in the agricultural sector.




  • Lack of funds for carrying out irrigation and other forms of land reclamation, purchase of machinery, or hiring labour.
  • Colonial education, which was geared towards white collar jobs in urban centres and neglected manual jobs such as farming.
  • Poor infrastructure, particularly transport and communication, which hinders or undermines transportation of food from one place to another.
  • High dependency ratio, whereby the population in the third world largely comprises people that are not involved in food production.