Working Paper
The Food Crisis in Africa

A Comparative Structural Analysis

A large part of Africa is chronically affected by a severe food crisis which threatens the food security of many of her inhabitants. A peculiarity of this continent is that food production is not only a source of food but also a source of incomes for the numerous smallholder producers who form the most important group exposed to the risk of hunger. Therefore, growing food insecurity is generally associated with a crisis of food production. This paper is an attempt to analyze various structural factors which underlie this production crisis. It is grounded on the hypothesis that these factors are far more constraining that the inadequate policy mixes which have received so much attention in the economic literature, and that their impact tends to impose serious handicaps on Africa compared to Asia and Latin America.