Environment and Food Security in sub-Saharan Africa
Michael Bernard Kwesi Darkoh, PhD
Professor of Environmental Science
University of Botswana, P/Bag 0022
E mail: Darkohmb@mopipi.ub.bw
The existence of key linkages between food security and environment is widely accepted even though the nature of this relationship is much contested. There are two opposing factions: those who see food security and environment as being essentially complementary and those who regard them as being in conflict . The former stresses the interdependence between food security and a healthy natural resource base that promotes reinforcing practices. The latter stresses that the pursuit of food security entails inevitable costs to the environment. For example, the cost of using resources comes in the form of resource shortages, environmental deterioration and change. The reason many households in sub-Saharan Africa are food insecure is rooted in the ways entire livelihood systems have changed and adapted, or failed to adapt to challenges from the ecological and economic environment, including shocks such as drought and floods, and above all, climate change . If food security is to be achieved in Africa, there is need at policy level to pay attention to these conflicts and complementarities.