hunger in benin
Benin is a small West African nation west of Nigeria with a population of approximately nine million. Although it has one of the most stable democracies in Africa, it is still one of the poorest nations in the world.

As part of the Sahel region, where “ongoing conflicts and recurring droughts” make food insecurity even worse, many people in Benin go hungry each day.

In February, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations asked for $116 million for the 75 million vulnerable people in the Sahel, but less than 14 percent has been received since then.

“If we are going to break out of this cycle of chronic crises across the Sahel region, emergency assistance to vulnerable farmers and pastoralists has to be considered a top priority,” said U.N. Assistant Secretary-General and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel Robert Piper. “The best way to reduce tomorrow’s emergency case-load is to help households protect their assets today.”

Droughts, floods and financial conditions have damaged the country’s nutritional situation in the most vulnerable parts of the country. Recently, low rainfall has contributed to the significant shortage of food causing hunger in Benin. One of the causes of malnutrition is Benin‘s weak agricultural system. The system has structural problems, including, according to the World Food Programme, “a lack of modern farming technologies, poor soil condition, and weak post-harvest infrastructure (storage, preservation, processing, etc.).”

A survey conducted by the Benin government in 2011 found that 33.6 percent of Benin households are food insecure. Additionally, the 2012 Multi-Indicator Cluster Survey showed that 16 percent of Benin children suffer from acute malnutrition and 44.6 percent of Benin children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition.

The Hunger Project, which has been working in Benin since 1997, has been working to provide the people of Benin with their basic needs. To combat poverty, The Hunger Project has established food banks at the epicenter of Benin and in villages in hopes that the communities can be food secure in the event of a shortage.

Kimmi Ligh

Sources: World Food Programme, The Guardian
Photo: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations