Did you know that in Africa, desertification occur on 20,000 hectares per a year? Well, this is the ugly truth about the impact of desertification in Africa.
Desertification is defined as land degradation in arid, barren and sub human-mid areas due to various factors which includes man-made activities or even climate variations. It results in persistent degradation of dry land and fragile ecosystems. The desertification process affects about 46% of the whole Africa. About 13.6 million square kilometers of area is affected by desertification and it impacts around 485 million people.
The causes of desertification in Africa
The causes of desertification in Africa are evident. The population increase in the recent years and with the insurgency problems, constant wars and conflicts and the lack of proper education, the agricultural sector has been affected a lot and thus it went in a declining rate.
Desertification in Africa has triggered displacements in a lot of places. Millions of hectares of land have been lost. According to UN agencies land degradation and desertification has affected around 1.5 billion people in a global scale. The report reveals how devastating and monstrous challenge it is for the people of Africa.
Most of Africa inherently suffers from a low soil fertility rate. Most of the soil is characterized by a low proportion of clay which means it is low output soil. The bedrock consists of granite and it also helps the soil become near useless to grow crops and other resources. Because of soil erosion Africa loses around 280 million tons of cereal crops from about 105 million hectares of lands.
The arid and semi-arid areas are getting drier for almost 5000 thousand years as it is pressurized by the continuous cycle of increasing population and livestock. Ethiopia and Kenya is the biggest victims of desertification as 80% of the land in both countries is in the risk. By 2020, there is a chance of 50 million people getting displaced from the Sub Saharan area to Northern Africa or Europe.
What are the reasons and factors of desertification in Africa?
Now if we look at the reasons and factors behind this we will find numerous of them. First of all, let’s call the spade a spade. Africa is prone to insurgence, poverty, lack of education and the biggest of them all, overflow of population. As African soil is already quite infertile and yields low output, it’s a huge and challenging task to grow crops in a huge scale. Lack of education and training in the agricultural sectors makes it even more difficult for the pasture owners and farmers to produce more.
Most of the farmers in Africa are unaware and somewhat ignorant of the modern agricultural wonders and modern machineries and thus, not using and taking advantage of them results in poorly grown crops and worsened state of the land. If we could educate the farmers, the rate of desertification in Africa would decrease.
A huge number of African people live on farming and raising livestock. Uncontrolled and unsolicited grazing of them added with a very low rate of rain results in worsened fertility rate of the lands. Back warded irrigation practices, overgrazing and deforestation has also played a huge part in this. So, erosion and degrading of high productive farming lands has caused food insecurity. Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done to prevent all of these as desertification doesn’t solely rely on man-made events or other humane occurrences. A lot of it has to do with the climate, the natural state of the soil and also the climate. But there are steps that can be taken.
Government policies to fight desertification in Africa
African governments should re-frame their laws and policies in terms of famine and drought preparedness and high risk management as opposed to responding to disasters as it strikes. Instead of sending humanitarian aids and collecting relief funds, forecasting investments on agricultural and educational aspects should be taken. Taking this step would have a great impact on fighting desertification in Africa.
Governments should take steps to be resilient to withstand upcoming droughts and desertification by unifying separated vulnerable communities. They should also assemble a provision fund to tackle the aftermath. Strategic tree plantation, advanced irrigation systems should be introduced and deforestation should be highly discouraged.
Assigning time and specific areas for grazing will also have a massive impact on this. Also degraded land should be refined and further pollution of fresh water and degradation of fertile land should be prevented.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you have any suggestion on how to combat desertification in Africa, feel free to drop a comment below.