Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham is quoted by Al Jazeera on the challenge of food insecurity in the Democratic Republic of Congo:

According to Dr J Peter Pham, director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, the challenge of food insecurity in the Congo is not climatological or meteorological, unlike other African nations in crisis. The weather and soil conditions are ripe for planting, but the political conditions are not.

“It’s not just a matter of forcing people, or incentivising them, to go home and plant. You have to really create the conditions where it would make sense for them to do so,” Pham said.

“If I’m a Congolese, I’m not going to plant, hoe, weed and do all that back-breaking work for the next six months if I have a reasonable fear that in three months I might be running for my life – or if I’m not running, that a marauding gang, or for that matter, marauding government troops, are likely to eat my crop for me.”


“Holding the food back means there are people hungry now,” Pham said. “But releasing it would mean a likelihood of even greater hunger down the road.”


“Without the picture of the starving child or the near famine or potential famine to grab headlines, aid organisations have a fundraising issue,” Pham said. “In the long history of international aid agencies, there are very few that seek to put themselves out of business.”

Read the full article here.

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