The Road to Food Security

In sub-Saharan Africa, almost 70% of all people living in rural areas live more than a 30-minute walk from the nearest maintained road. This leaves rural areas, which have the potential to feed the more than one billion hungry people, cut off and isolated – and typically without electricity or telephone service.

ROME – Recently, I was on a road in the Southern Choma District of Zambia to meet with Rosemary Pisani, a smallholder farmer and mother of eight who struggled to feed her children prior to joining a farmer’s cooperative to raise goats. Thanks to the cooperative and support from other farmers, she now has a thriving business and all of her children are in school.

On the way to meet her, I passed women walking through mud to the market with large loads of fruit and vegetables stacked on their heads. I imagined how I might be on my way to a very different rural community if the road we were on was paved and well maintained.

Often in Africa, the few paved roads that do exist are littered with potholes and lead to unpaved ones that are nearly impossible to navigate without a proper vehicle. Closer to farming communities, roads disappear entirely. This leaves rural areas, which have the potential to feed the more than one billion hungry people, cut off and isolated. In sub-Saharan Africa, almost 70% of all people living in rural areas live more than a 30-minute walk from the nearest maintained road.

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