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Is Southern Africa facing a food security disaster?


Population growth, lagging food production and climate change threaten food stability.

A rapidly growing population in Southern Africa means an increasingly higher food demand. And although domestic food production is expected to rise over the next few decades in response to this need, it is unlikely that the increases will be able to keep pace. As a result, food demand will outstrip domestic food supply.

A recent report from the African Futures Project shows that the widening gap between domestic food supply and demand could have serious consequences for food stability.

The region’s population is expected to increase by 60% (116 million people) over the next 23 years, overtaking growth in the agricultural sector. Without drastic improvements in food production, the region will have to rely on food imports more and more.

In two decades, nearly a third of Southern Africa’s food demand will be met through imports

It is forecast that in 20 years’ time, nearly a third of all food needed in Southern Africa will be imported.

This reliance on agricultural imports will make people more vulnerable to food price spikes and climate shocks (such as floods or drought) – and ultimately, more frequent domestic food shortages. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Southern Africa will experience a rise in hunger – but it does mean the region is likely to be less food stable.

Population growth, rising incomes and changing food preferences mean that agricultural demand in the region should increase by more than 80% – but regional agricultural production by only 35% – over the next 23 years. Without a significant push to increase agricultural production, the gap between domestic production and food demand is expected to be about 100 million metric tons by 2040 (see Figure 1) – and the region will have to rely even more on food imports to bridge the divide



 That said, if countries in Southern Africa can improve agricultural production or reduce rapid population growth, this reliance on agricultural imports could decrease.

Given the effects of rapid population growth on both poverty and stability in the region, stemming population growth should be part of a strategy to both ensure long-term development and mitigate growing food instability.

Slowing population growth – through improved family planning and/or increased female secondary education – would help reduce the pace of food demand increases. But even with reductions in population growth (a long-term strategy), the region still needs to increase food production to ensure food stability.

This can be achieved in two ways: increasing land under cultivation and/or improving average yields.

Only about 12.5% of Southern Africa’s arable land is under cultivation

A more sustainable approach would be to boost agricultural yields. Agricultural yields within the region are considerably lower (4.2 tons per hectare) than the global average (6.1 tons per hectare). Policies that promote the use of fertilisers, improved seeds and pesticides, provide training on soil management or expand the amount of irrigated land could help close this yield gap.

Investing in sustainable agricultural practices and improved inputs to boost yields will be especially important in light of the possible effects of climate change in the region.

The latest research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests that much of Southern Africa is likely to get warmer and have less rain in the coming decades. These types of changes will have significant effects on agricultural yields in Southern Africa, especially for small-holder subsistence farmers.

Vulnerability to food shocks, whether it be through increased import dependence or factors relating to climate change, could spell a food security disaster for Southern Africa.

This means that increasing production and shifting towards more sustainable agricultural practices should be at the forefront of the region’s efforts in attaining food stability.

Alex Porter, Research Consultant and Stellah Kwasi, Intern, African Futures and Innovation, ISS Pretoria


Is the UK government doing enough to help refugees?

by Tyler Gerrard, 27 June 2017

As the Face of Kenya UK celebrates its 5th year anniversary, I will be one of the ambassadors seeking to represent Kenya in 2017/2018.

 In the process, I am asking for your help in helping to raise £1000 towards basic medical care and basic education for desperately poor and isolated rural communities in Kenya. I am a British-Kenyan living in Nottingham and studying accounts. My passion is in actively supporting the needy and the less fortunate through volunteering and fundraising. As a highly motivated and compassionate individual, I avidly believe that children are our future. I am thus committed in supporting needy children, especially the destitute with minimal opportunities. This is one of the most effective ways in breaking the vicious circle of poverty and destitution that trap these children.

Joining Face of Kenya UK gives me an opportunity to amplify the voices calling for proactive action in breaking the multigenerational poverty, suffering and isolation experienced by many needy children. I am delighted to represent Kenya by being a great and highly effective ambassador of Kenya globally. In this role, I have chosen to support Children’s Health and Development in Kenya (CHADIK) with fund raising and in raising their awareness. CHADIK supports the desperately poor and isolated rural communities by providing basic medical care to mothers and children who would otherwise go unseen and untreated. They working in Likii slum, Nanyuki town where they also support a nursery school and IT training. They are also supplying agricultural and technological training for 14-16 year old very capable children who have no opportunity for secondary education and need our help to secure a future by acquiring essential skills.

Online Profile

  By Esther Muthoni

As part of the ‘Africa rising’ narrative, much has been made of the continent’s growth story. The global recession of 2007/8 hit Africa hard, but it remained remarkably resilient, with growth forecast to 2030 at around 1.3% faster than average growth rates for the world. Africa’s average growth rates are significantly higher than they were during the lost decades leading up to the 1990s, although substantially below regions like Southeast Asia which includes high-growth countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia. But does this economic growth in Africa bring advances in human development, or will the continent continue to lag behind?

Jakkie Cillier 05/06/2017

“Zanzibar,” formerly known as “UK Mama,” is celebrating its 23rd  anniversary this year. And a long history is not the only thing that makes this African-Caribbean restaurant unique; being the first of such kind in Yorkshire also contributes to its prestige.

Philip Nucca was a teenager when he came to the UK from Kenya. From his homey kitchen back in Nairobi to the kitchen in an English pub in Sheffield, Nucca has always cooked with determination and an ever-running innovative mind.

Families affected by childhood cancer joined forces to launch a new fundraising campaign celebrating 20 years of the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre (CBTRC). The University of Nottingham’s annual fundraising campaign Life Cycle will this year focus on raising more money for research into the deadly form of cancer.

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How Many Calories Should You Eat Per Day to Lose Weight?

How to Reduce Calorie Intake Without Starving Yourself

Calories are simply a measure of energy. It is known that in order to gain weight, more calories need to be entering your body than leaving it. Conversely, if more calories leave your body than enter it, then you lose weight. That being said, just cutting calories without regards to the foods you eat is usually not a sustainable way to lose weight. Although it works for some people, the majority of people end up hungry and eventually give up on their diet. For this reason, it is highly recommended to make a few other permanent changes to help you maintain a calorie deficit in the long term, without feeling starved. Here are 5 evidence-based diet/lifestyle changes that have been shown to help people lose weight in numerous studies

  1. Eating More Protein Can Reduce Appetite, Cut Cravings by 60% and Increase The Amount of Calories You Burn





When it comes to losing weight, protein is the king of nutrients. Adding protein to your diet is the simplest, most effective and most delicious way to lose weight with minimal effort. Because protein requires energy to metabolize, a high protein diet can increase calories burned by up to 80 to 100 calories per day. In other words, you can easily increase calories out and reduce calories in… just by adding protein to your diet. Protein can also help fight cravings, which are the dieter’s worst enemy. If you want to lose weight, sustainably, with minimal effort, then consider making a permanent increase in your protein intake. Not only will it help you lose, it will also prevent or at least significantly reduce weight regain, in case you ever decide to abandon your weight loss efforts.

Bottom Line: Increasing protein intake can boost metabolism, fight cravings and significantly reduce appetite. This can lead to automatic weight loss.

  1. Avoid Sugary Soft Drinks (and Fruit Juices), The Most Fattening Items in The Modern Diet

Another relatively easy change you can make, is to eliminate liquid sugar calories from your diet. These “foods” are probably the most fattening aspect of the modern diet, by far. This is because liquid calories don’t get “registered” by the brain in the same way as solid calories. For this reason, drinking sugary soda doesn’t make your brain automatically compensate by having you eat less of other things instead. Of course, the harmful effects of sugar go way beyond just weight gain. It can have disastrous effects on metabolic health and raise your risk of all sorts of diseases. Although small amounts of natural sugars from foods (like fruit) are absolutely fine, large amounts from added sugar and sugary drinks can be an absolute disaster. It is important to avoid sugary soft drinks and fruit juices, because liquid sugar is the single most fattening aspect of the Western diet.




        3. Drinking More Water Can Help With Weight Loss

One very simple trick to increase weight loss is to drink more water. This can increase the number of calories you burn for up to 90 minutes. But when you drink water may be even more important, because having it before meals can help reduce hunger and make you automatically eat fewer calories. When combined with a healthy diet, drinking more water (especially before meals) does appear to be helpful if you need to lose weight. Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and green tea are also excellent. The caffeine in them can help boost metabolism somewhat, at least in the short term.

Bottom Line: Studies have shown that drinking water can boost metabolism. Drinking it a half hour before meals can help you eat fewer calories.

  1. Do Some Exercise and Lift Weights

When we eat fewer calories, our bodies compensate by making us burn less. This is why long-term calorie restriction can significantly reduce metabolism. Not only that, but it can also lead to loss of muscle mass. Muscle is metabolically active, so this can reduce metabolism even further. This has been repeatedly shown to prevent muscle loss and prevent your metabolism from slowing down during long-term calorie restriction. If you can’t get to a gym, then consider doing some body weight exercises like push ups, squats, sit ups, etc. Doing some cardio like walking, swimming or jogging can also be important. Not so much for weight loss, but for optimal health and general wellbeing. Of course, exercise also has a plethora of other benefits that go way beyond just weight loss… such as a longer life, lower risk of disease, more energy and feeling better every day.

Bottom Line: Lifting weights is important, because it inhibits muscle loss and prevents the metabolic rate from slowing down.




5. Reduce Carbohydrate Intake, Especially Refined Carbs and Sugars

Cutting carbs is a very effective way to lose weight. When people do that, their appetite tends to go down and they eat fewer calories automatically. Studies have shown that eating a low-carb diet until fullness can make you lose about 2-3 times as much weight as a calorie restricted low-fat diet. Not only that, but low-carb diets also have all sorts of other benefits for health, especially for people with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. If you stick to real foods, the exact composition of your diet becomes less important.

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