The Horn of Africa has been hard hit by the recurrent food shortages where millions of people were at risk of starvation as food prices soared to unprecedented heights but never came down even when the situation improved.

Over 75 delegates from 18 countries within and without Africa gather at the Jumuiya Conference between the 17th and the 21st with the aim of looking at measures that seek to ensure a sustainable solution to the persistent food shortage situation in the Sub-Saharan region.

Hlosble Nxumalo a delegate from Swaziland leading the rest in a song.

Hlosble Nxumalo a delegate from Swaziland leading the rest in a song.

Guided by the principles of re-thinking agriculture and food security in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Organisation of African Instituted Churches (OAIC), The United Nations Millenium Campaign (UNMC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Church of Canada (UCC) have collaborated to bring together delegates from the 18 countries. They represent the churches, ecumenical organisations, youth  and farmers’ organisations, UN agencies, young farmers as well as agronomists.

The Secretary General of the Organisation of African Instituted Churches (OAIC), Reverend Nicta Lubaale stated that the organisation conceived the idea of having the consultation on food security in 2011 when famine was ravaging a large part of East Africa and the Horn of Africa.

“At that time the images of starving children and adults were everywhere in the media. The campaigns to raise funds for relief food took off with great intensity and we are grateful to all the individuals and agencies that helped to save the millions of people who were at risk of starvation. As the drums of relief were sounding we (in the OAIC) recognised the fact that even without the extremes of famine, millions of people in Africa live in a state of perennial hunger and that these drums will always go silent as soon as the extreme situations of hunger are over. Yet millions are still struggling in a state of chronic hunger,” stated Reverend Nicta.

He sought advice from colleagues in the UNMC, and UCC to look at the possibility of organising a consultation meeting that would enable various participants to talk about the underlying issues on hunger.

Nicta states that the fact that the OAIC member churches are mostly small scale farmers, as well as many others in the Sub Saharan region was motivation enough to hold the consultation meeting as they are in the centre of the issues at hand.


“Gender constraint is one of the structural issue that has not been scrutinised closely and thus the sluggish development in matters agriculture. The fact that women provide over 80 percent of the labour yet they don’t have access to even 10% of the resources in agriculture is a sad thing to note. If they had, agriculture would improve to up to 30 %,” stated the Reverend.


He says that the potential in this area has not yet been realised because of several other structural issues which need to be dealt with.

The prolonged conflicts in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo worsen the situation. Countries like Burundi are very fertile yet up to 60 % of their citizens are undernourished.

“The agricultural sector has been neglected for a long time. The unjust trade system is not making anything easier for us. For me to sell a banana in the E.U, I am informed that it must be straight.  Who said that a banana should be straight? It has taken years to discuss these issues but I am glad that we are making headway in a bid to transform the power relations in our midst,” he stated.


Nicta says that relief may not solve the long term problems and that the church has a role to play to keep the government on its toes on these issues. That by engaging the elected officials at all levels constructively, and not merely thinking of proposal writing will eventually change he massed mindsets.


“We are driving Africa into insubordination. Our solutions are here with us not abroad. We need to rise up to these challenges brought about by poor governance. Churches need to organize themselves and have a clear voice. Our strength as churches can also be our weakness. We want to emphasise compassion and the scriptures certainly encourage us. We need to realise that we will never eliminate hunger unless we look at it in the framework of justice,” he added.


The transformation he insists should be linked to the prophetic role where the power at family level, local, national and global levels are all looked into.

He states that one of the key factors in coinstar oakbrook terrace il Coinstar Money Transfer, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, SANTIAGO
overcoming marginalisation is organising for constructive engagement. “Our founders at the African Independent Churches (AICS) knew that the best response to marginalisation is organising. We draw our strength from generating the resourcefulness and capacities at the margins of society. This is what links us with smallholder farmers and people doing small businesses in urban informal settlements,” he stated.

Delegates having tea.

Delegates having tea.

He stated that the AIC’s seek to mobilise and strengthen the voices of the ones that are perceived as weak.

“Farmers in our midst, please don’t allow us do disappear in the jargon which has always excluded you. You are principal actors in this consultation. The stories you bring are valuable. The now and future we want demands of us to transform the current shape of relationships and these are patron client relationships at all levels and in all forms. North/South or rich and poor nations, elected representatives and citizens, men and women etc and this is the reason we are here,” he stated.

He urged the church to transform the theology and ensure that it analyses critical issues that go beyond the ministry of compassion and ensure that the issue of social justice is well stated within their prophetic voices.

“Together as faith communities in Africa we can defeat hunger, improve farming, speak and confront issues at hand as well engaging those who are responsible for policy making. If we leave those who are capable of engaging destructively to do so, they will and us who can engage constructively and have lost hope can be manipulated,” he stated.



Fiona Imbali,

OAIC Communications.

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