According to statistics and forecasts, by the year 2025, 61% of the world’s inhabitants will be living in cities, particularly in large urban areas (study of Food Supply and Distribution Systems in cities in developing countries: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)).
This situation raises concerns about the sustainable food security of these cities and especially of the poorest populations insofar as 90% of this explosive growth of cities occurs in poor countries, particularly in Asia, Latin America and especially in Africa.
Abidjan, the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire, like cities such as Douala, Monrovia, Lagos, Kinshasa, Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Mapouto, Accra, Cairo, Tunis, and others, are not exempt from this reality.
These African cities have almost all been the scene of food riots following the surge in world food prices following the 2008 food crisis, but particularly in large urban areas whose populations have suffered the most. This situation, common to all African countries, triggered the awareness of African leaders that it was time to seek and implement a viable policy for sustainable food security, which until then had been precarious.
Abidjan, this large West African metropolis, which alone accounts for 20.3% of the national population and 44% of the national urban population, has grown from 3,000,000 inhabitants in 2002 to approximately 6,000,000 inhabitants today, according to the 2009 Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP).
This demographic pressure has undeniably increased the demand for food, which has not been followed by an adequate supply to guarantee food security.
It is therefore appropriate to ask the following question: What is food security?
At the World Food Summit held in Rome in 1996, the FAO declared that “food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. ”
According to this definition, food security is the combination of four inseparable elements: food availability, stability of supply in space, accessibility and optimal biological use.
Given these characteristics, can we talk about food security in Abidjan?
According to the report of the Ivorian Ministry of Agriculture, in partnership with the FAO, the food balance of Côte d’Ivoire over the period 2001-2007 is acceptable. That is to say, the availability of food is largely above the consumption needs of the population, except for rice, whose national production is 600,000 tons for a national consumption need estimated at 1.4 million tons per year, i.e., a deficit of 800,000 tons filled by massive imports, which have become extremely costly. In fact, according to the DRSP 2009, approximately 150 billion CFA francs are imported annually from the national coffers to satisfy this food item alone. In addition, Côte d’Ivoire imports 70% of its animal protein. Despite these efforts, the minimum food needs of 20 to 40% of the population are not met.
The food situation in Abidjan is somewhat precarious, at least for the economically disadvantaged population, which represents 21.02% of the population (PRSP 2009). The poorest populations do not have enough to eat because of the high cost of food on the markets. Even food produced in Côte d’Ivoire
d’Ivoire are still not within the reach of the economically weak. And this, because of the repercussion on the price to the final consumer, the costs of artificial factors that are, the increase of the transport due essentially to the road hassles.
Recently, measures have been taken to improve food security in Abidjan and throughout Côte d’Ivoire. These include the presentation and validation of the food security and nutrition program by the Ministry of Agriculture, and the launch of the “return of the household basket” project by FENACOVICI, which aims to purchase vehicles for the transportation of foodstuffs.
Food security is a fundamental right of individuals and peoples. It conditions health, physical and intellectual development, the survival of the child, the guarantee of social peace and therefore of the sustainable development of any country. For these obvious reasons, it is the duty of the international community, of the peoples, and especially of the States to guarantee it to the populations.
Collaboration: E. Adou