While clear warning signs indicate that another food crisis is looming in the Sahel, up to 9 million people in the area are at risk of food shortages and extreme hunger if nothing is done now, asserts Peter Gubbels for Groundswell International. Food crises can no longer be treated as limited events caused by occasional hazards like droughts or floods. If acute food crises can be triggered by drought, they are short term peaks of an underlying trend of increasing chronic vulnerability.
Local population's coping strategies, including migration, and selling or mortgaging their land, household goods and livestock, have reached the limits of their effectiveness. Communities in the Sahel need support to adapt to changing conditions and increase their resilience: by improving food production using agro-ecological farming techniques; through disaster risk reduction (DRR) techniques, including adaptation to climate change; by working with women’s savings and loans groups to develop alternative sources of food; or through various social protection measures such as direct cash transfers and livelihood support.