chapter  13
19 Pages

Agricultural policy in Africa – renewal or status quo?: A spotlight on Kenya and Senegal


Since the spring of 2008, not a single week passed without new riots erupting against the expensive life in the countries of the South, most particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. While the crisis has also touched the purchasing power of the Western consumer, the rapid escalation of the prices of goods – foods of first necessity in particular – affected the political stability of certain developing countries. Social unrest has spread quickly: the FAO identified more than 30 countries where the sharp rise in the price of staples resulted in demonstrations and, sometimes, provoked riots and violence. To use the terms advanced by Time magazine, these events and subsequent acts could be a cause of massive destabilisation.2 Riots caused 40 deaths in Cameroon in February and generated violence in Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Egypt, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, etc. (CCFD, 2008). Populations that seemed affected by food issues are today exposed to hunger. The importance of these popular movements, their spontaneity, and sometimes their violence, must be considered as messages addressed towards policy and decisions makers at a time when the need for regulatory measures is becoming more coercive (Anseeuw and Wambo, 2008). Questioning indeed the legitimacy of globalised development models and internationally recognised institutions,3 it also draws attention to the situation of Africa’s agriculture and its own capacities to overcome this crisis.