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Last updated: 11 November, 2008 - Published 18:14 GMT
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Forum: Can you afford to eat?

Children queue for food
Sharp rises in the cost of food are leaving people everywhere struggling to feed their families.

Food-related riots are becoming more common, particularly in West Africa

Are you managing to feed your family?

How can your government help you cover food costs?

Who do you blame for the food price hikes?

Join the Focus Forum

To take part in the debate simply fill in the form on the right. A selection of your comments will appear below.

Auwal Abubakar, Kurna Asabe, Kano, Nigeria:

Allah said it's from him that we get guidance and assistance, so I think it is better not to depend on the government for food, as Allah is the best provider

Yahya Mohammed, Andaha, Nigeria:

Please African people find alternative to get food to eat as God is always on our side not to depends on the so called Government to provide food for us.

Nafama Ephraim, Cham, Gombe State, Nigeria:

If the downtrodden masses fold their hands and wait for the politicians to give them food, they will eventually die. Instead, rise up and fend for yourselves. Your leaders are not thinking of you

Suleiman Mbatiah, Nairobi, Kenya:

The pangs of the food crisis are being felt in Kenya especially after the post election violence. Most of the displaced were farmers. Food crops were set ablaze by warring groups. Unreliable and unpredictable rain patterns have also fuelled the shortage

Abdul Karim Kargbo, Sierra Leone:

Our government is paying little to no attention to feeding us. It's like they are more committed to Makeni than the whole nation

Silas Nyambok, Tokyo, Japan:

Africa is suffering from the food crisis because of the lack of sound policies toward food security. This is despite the fact that modern farming methods in Africa's vast arable land can produce adequate food for the continent. Our leaders have always hidden behind the umbrella of donors and most of them already have their begging speeches ready. Now that the West also has the credit crisis to solve, one can only wonder where the willing donors will come from

Shuttie F.Namakau, Zambia:

Hunger knows no politician I'm afraid. It is no use taking to the streets when you haven't even got a back yard. It is a do it yourself era now. The more we produce the lower the prices of food stuffs will be

Yusuf AbdulSalam, Nigeria:

While the government takes the lion's share of the blame for neglecting agriculture and concentarting on a mineral-based economy, the citizens' role in the food crisis should not be overlooked. How else do you explain the neglect of subsistence farming by rural poeple who now troop to the cities in search of non-existent jobs for which they are not qualified to do in the first place?

Eric Scott, Michigan, United States:

As an American my heart aches for my friends in Abuja and north-central Nigeria. People (and politicians) here in the West do not fully appreciate the disparity of lifestyle. If I fail to go one-one-one in a day it's always because of laziness, not lack of money. There is doubtless much that we could do to help with the problem, but I also realise that the long-term fix must come from within Africa, not without. Oil prices - one of the causes of the food problem - are not likely to return to normal

 Unless the government develops the will to tackle the issue of agriculture, most Africans will not be able to feed
Eddie Inegedu

Eddie Inegedu, Abuja, Nigeria:

It will be foolhardy for me to pretend that the sharp rises in all food items has not left my pocket in tatters. It is more hurtful considering that despite the global warnings of impending food shorages by FAO and other bodies, African governments still do not have a workable blueprint to meet the sharp rises and attendant food shortages. Mechanised agriculture is monopolised in my country by the few very powerful men. I totally blame the government for neglecting agriculture for oil and even the subsidised fertilisers that are intended to be shared to the poor people are hijacked by government cronies and distributed to their fellow rich. Unless the government develops the will to tackle the issue of agriculture, most Africans will not be able to feed in the next few years

 We sit in the midst of plenty but live on virtually nothing
Kweku Frimpong

Kweku Frimpong, Tema, Ghana:

It is heartbreaking that we sit in the midst of plenty but live on virtually nothing. In most Africa countries in Sub-saharan Africa more than 60 per cent of the population is involved in agriculture. However our farming practices have not changed within the last 50 years. We blame everyone for our problems. We maim and kill ourselves, waste money on arms, ammunition and weapons of destruction and very few of us stack money in foreign banks whilst the majority of us have empty bowls and struggle every day. I manage to feed my family but the food does not settle well in the face of the empty bowls of malnourished children

Dimoune Dadori, Foudouk, Niger:

God willing, we are able to eat. However, it is becoming more difficult to have a balanced diet with the rising cost of millet. The IMF and the world bank have done nothing but pauperised Africa and her people. It is time for each African to take charge of his/her destiny and work together to create stronger communities rather than rely on corrupt African governments and governments of the West who undermine us

Major Samukai Junior, Monrovia, Liberia:

I can't afford to eat ever day, it is only by the grace of God that my family and I survive in Liberia. This is the time that governments in Africa, particularly my government in Liberia, should empower the local farmer and improve argricultural processes in Africa. The government must be engaged in farming work as well

Oliver Wilson, Lubumbashi, DR Congo:

I can afford to feed myself and my family as well. The philosophy of blaming our government, non-governmental organizations and the United Nations for the increase in food prices is irrelevant. With the support of the United Nations, government should ensure that every family has their farm

 It must take a miracle to afford three square meals a day for families
Sena Nani

Sena Nani, Ayanfuri, Ghana:

For a continent that has more than half of its population living below the bread line, it must take a miracle to afford three square meals a day for families. This struggle rests partly on the government and on the citizens because Africans by default always want to be spoon fed - while our governments look to the western world for survival we, the citizens, tend to look to our governments for our bread and water

Muhammad Abdul-Hameed, Zaria, Nigeria:

African presidents have to take action against food scarcity

Mukhtar Dan'Inu, Damaturu, Nigeria:

I would like to call the attention of my government to restore food prices as we are always struggling for food in our country

Umaru Ali, Yaounde, Cameroon:

Portable rural water, rural roads and rural electrification would send back the striking youths to till the soil

Thomas B. Kokulo, Paynseville, Monrovia, Liberia:

Now it just difficult for me to survive with my wife and three children. At times I think about committing suicide, but I pray to God on a daily basis. Before we had one, one and one in my house, meaning we could afford meals in the morning, afternoon and evening, but now we have zero, zero and one meaning we only eat once daily. What an embarrassing situation? May God save our land from this starvation

 African leaders have failed to prioritise agriculture and this has resulted in rising food prices globally
Mohammed Konneh

Mohammed Konneh, Monrovia, Liberia:

African leaders have failed to prioritise agriculture and this has resulted in rising food problems globally. Let the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations increase productivity to end starvation worldwide. I am struggling to feed six children everyday from hand to mouth as it is known in Liberia

Ifeanyi Achuagu, Abuja, Nigeria

The Western world should assist Africa

Yakubu Ahmad, Birnin Kudu, Nigeria

My government should provide farm products to the people at a reasonable price. It should provide farmers with adequate loans. I find it difficult to feed my farmily three times a day and it's due to the lack of control over prices. A lack of job opportunities has also contributed

Benjamin Obeing Asare, Tema, Ghana:

The soaring price of food, especially in West Africa is uncalled for. However, we have to cope with it. In particular, the size of my family is not large as compared to others, but my salary is still not enough. However I always try to ration my food but it is not easy at all because within seven days after being paid, I have to pray that the next month will end early. In Ghana what I have noticed is that if you don't steal from your employer, then forget it, you cannot survive to the end of the month. However, the government of Ghana has to give subsidies to farmers and manufacturers so that they can produce more food, which is less costly. They should also encourage backyard gardens as well as joint farming. More students should also be encouraged to go into farming through scholarships. I don't want to blame the government, but individuals. Our behaviour towards our ecology and forests is very bad - chopping down trees which are supposed to protect the environment has become common to our society. If we change our attitude things will change for us

 millions go hungry on a daily basis
Abraham Odafen-Dominic

Abraham Odafen-Dominic, Lagos, Nigeria:

My country has plenty of cultivatable and fertile land, yet millions go hungry on a daily basis. The government should launch a radical food production programme. The citizens should cultivate gardens wherever they can. I think this is not time for trading blames, but time to act

Augustine Kullie, Monrovia, Liberia:

I am personally managing to feed my young and small family of three. I could blame the hikes in the price of food in my country primarily to the laziness of Liberians. People have refused to leave the capital to farm in the counties. As a result, Monrovia holds a little more than half of the entire population of the country. The government on the other hand has done very little to encourage people to get back to the soil

Lawal Adam, Gangara Giwa Local Goverment, Nigeria:

Government have to give more consideration to farming and irrigation farming in the rural areas

Alhassan Abba Gana, Damaturu, Nigeria:

Thank God we are managing, but the government of this country is to blame for the food price hikes

 It is now time that the Liberian government reduces taxes on our staple food, rice and empower our farmers to go back to the soil
William Kokulo

William Kokulo, Monrovia, Liberia:

Only by the grace of God is my family surviving in Liberia. It is now time that the Liberian government reduces taxes on our staple food, rice and empower our farmers to go back to the soil and help to feed ourselves as a nation. I squarely put the blame not only on the government but also the citizens who refuse to become self productive, to feed families and the nation at large

Ibraheem Hameed, Khartoum, Sudan:

Actually, African governments generally are quite selfish, as all they think about is how to fill up their accounts with public funds. We know how capable they are to initiate food programes but to them, who cares about the common man?

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