Structural approach to hunger in Sahel and Horn of Africa

from Government of the Netherlands
Published on 19 Jul 2013

Millions of people in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa are still threatened by drought, disappointing harvests, high food prices, climate change and conflict. The Global Humanitarian Assistance report presented today shows that despite all the emergency aid in circulation, vast numbers of people continue to die of starvation. Over the next five years, the Netherlands will therefore invest a total of €40 million in structural solutions to help the local population prevent new crises.

This new aid package was announced today by Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen.

‘Stop-gap solutions, necessary though they may be, are not effective in the long term,’ the minister said. ‘Investment in rural development is urgently needed. Fortunately, there are some hopeful signs. Over the past few years, local farmers have succeeded in boosting their productivity on millions of hectares of less fertile land, using local techniques. We intend to scale up those techniques, with the help of expertise from VU University Amsterdam, businesses and local NGOs.’

The Dutch contribution will go to the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), with a focus on Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ethiopia and Kenya. Our aim is to bring the tools for sustainable economic development to farmers – both men and women – who can now barely support themselves. The programme focuses on regions where there is just enough rainfall for farming to be viable. It invests in improving farming techniques, protecting indigenous species of trees, water management, widening access to markets and strengthening the local economy. Beside promoting economic development, the programme will also make the population more resilient to extreme weather patterns caused by climate change. Greater prosperity will also lead to increased security and stability in these vulnerable regions.