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Eat Your Veggies

June 16, 2016 1377Views

Eat all of your veggies because there are people in Africa who are starving. I doubt I am the only one who heard that (or some other variation) as a child growing up in America. I think statements like that do little more than help solidify stereotypes about Africa and starvation. It is not as if the food that has already been bought, cooked and served by my Mother was ever going to end up in Africa. That food never even had a chance of making it to the local homeless shelter, never mind shipping it to another continent.

If my Mother’s goal was to teach me to eat right, she will be happy to know that I do eat veggies as an adult (especially when they are are a topping to a cheeseburger or a pizza). If her goal was to help Africa by cutting her food budget, she should have bought fewer groceries and made less food. Then she should have taken the money she saved at the grocery store and donated that towards her would-be cause.

Sometimes it might seem like ending hunger in Africa is a hopeless struggle. I do know that people in Africa have been suffering from starvation since before I was born, and it does not seem like anything has changed much during my lifetime.

But food shortages don’t have to be a permanent condition in the lesser developed nations of Africa. In fact, many people in Africa are working to solve this issue right now. This week marks the seventh annual Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW), which is happening alongside the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). Both events are being hosted by Rwanda. Taking place at these events are high-level discussions on initiatives geared towards Africa’s self-reliance on agriculture, and the development of plans are underway to achieve common goals related to agriculture.

While citing challenges that need to be addressed to mobilize science, technology and innovation strategies towards the objectives of the “Feeding Africa Initiative,” the African Union Commission (AUC) reminded dignitaries and attendees of their commitment towards building research capabilities and a knowledge-based economy.

barrel of books

President Akinwumi Adesina of the African Development Bank (AfDB) recognizes that education plays a key role in Africa’s ability to feed itself. Adesina is pushing for more investment in science and agricultural-related technologies as a way to tackle poverty and to increase the wealth of African citizens. In his keynote address, Adesina stated that “Africa spends $35 billion on importing food. Spending is projected to grow to $110 billion by 2025. Africa is importing what it should be producing.” [1]


If the key to solving hunger in Africa is education, then perhaps the best way you can help is by providing books, school supplies, and other resources to young students in Africa. I suspect that your support in this area will go much farther towards helping this cause than trying not to waste any of tonight’s dinner.



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