Case studies: increasing food supply

Some places have put measures in place to increase food supplies.

Case study: large scale agricultural development

Tanzania is a low income country (LIC) in Africa. The Kilombero Valley has high rainfall and fertile soil. The Kilombero Valley lies to the south of the capital Dodoma and to the south west of the main city of Dar es Salaam.

Tanzania is in east Africa.

Kilombero Plantations Limited (KPL) run a 5,818 hectare farm in the Kilombero Valley, where they grow rice crops. They process and store the rice on site and they use machinery like tractors, planters and combine harvesters. KPL grow 35,000 tonnes of rice, which is more than anyone else in East Africa.


  • KPL provide work for many people in the area. Unemployment used to be very high here.
  • The company also provides training and seeds to local farmers.
  • 82 houses were built for families that had to move to make way for the new farm.


  • Many farmers had to borrow money to pay for new seeds and equipment, which left them in debt.
  • KPL have used lots of land in the area, increasing land rental prices.
  • Chemicals used on the new farm have polluted local habitats.

Local case study: urban farming in Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa is a middle income country (MIC) in Africa. Cape Town is the legislative capital of the country. Cape Town has many townships, which are less developed settlements found on the edge of the city. Food security has been a problem in the townships, with around 80% of households experiencing hunger. Urban farming is a recent initiative, whereby residents grow food on patches of land near where they live or work. The scheme is sustainable, in that local people have control over decisions, and the initiative is manageable.

 Urban farming in Cape Town.


  • Levels of health have improved as people are eating more nutritious food.
  • Urban farms help to reduce food miles, which is good for the environment.
  • Unemployed residents now have an income.


  • Crops are irrigated with domestic wastewater and this can contain bacteria and viruses. This spreads disease.
  • On many occasions, urban farmers do not receive training. This can create pollution through overuse of fertilisers and pesticides.
  • The success of the urban farming initiative in Cape Town may have discouraged the government from tackling issues of food security at a national level. Urban farming is seen as a solution, when the problems are in fact much greater.

National case study: the Green Revolution in Ghana

Ghana is a lower-MIC located in western Africa. The country has lots of fertile land, but in spite of this it suffers from food insecurity. In 2012, Ghana signed up to a G8 initiative called the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. They decided to focus on five crops: cowpea, maize, cassava, rice and yam. The government invested in 42 new high-yield variety seeds (HYV) for their focus crops, plus others such as groundnut and soybean. They also introduced inorganic fertilisers, built grain warehouses and provided training for farmers.

Ghana is in northwest Africa.


  • 46,869 farmers have learned useful skills, such as warehouse management. This has allowed them to store crops in warehouses rather than homes and fewer crops become spoiled or contaminated.
  • 204,620 farmers are using the improved seed varieties. These are high-yielding crops so more food is being grown.
  • Many farmers have increased their maize yields by up to 400%.


  • A new law (the Plant Breeders Bill) has been put in place to protect the companies that produce the high-yield variety crops. Farmers used to swap seeds, but this is now illegal and they have to pay for any new seeds.
  • Inorganic fertilisers are too expensive and so some farmers cannot afford them.
  • Those farmers who can afford the new fertilisers have sometimes used too much. This has caused pollution.
Cassava yields have improved under the new initiatives.
Cassava yields in Ghana have improved under the new initiatives