First Advisor

Mohammed Wader

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Political Science


Political Science




Food supply -- Sub-Saharan Africa, Food supply -- Kenya, Food supply -- Government policy -- Sub-Saharan Africa, Food supply -- Government policy -- Kenya, Agriculture and state -- Sub-Saharan Africa, Agriculture and state -- Kenya



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, xi, 254 p.)


This thesis analyses the food crisis in sub-Saharan Africa in the 1980s and 1990s, identifies roots of the problem, and proposes strategies of sustainable development based on self-sufficiency in food production for domestic needs. The main goal of this research has been to devise development strategies centered on development of the food production sector. The thesis strongly suggests that countries of the region should consider developing the food production sector to experience any meaningful development, and to escape a dark future of food shortages and food dependency on developed economies. Investigation into Development Economics, Dependency, Underdevelopment, and Modernization theories has provided a basis to justify that improvement of the food production sector is an urgent necessity for sub-Saharan African countries. The thesis uses a comparative analytical methodology based on a historical study of Kenya from the colonial period to the 1990s. The food crisis is identified as a common problem for many countries in sub-Saharan Africa and its general causes are investigated: ( 1) low output productivity of traditional methods and technology, (2) harsh ecological environment with frequent droughts and soil erosion, (3) neglect of food production in the policies and priorities of governments, ( 4) poor marketing and distribution of foodstuffs, (5) fast population growth. Kenya is then used as a model to confirm the hypothesis that roots of the crisis are strongly linked to the colonial setting of these economies as cash crop and raw material producers. Also, neglect of the food production sector in government policy is matched in the Kenyan case. Kenya's food crisis can be explained by two sets of factors. On the input side of the food production sector, reasons found were ( 1) government emphasis on cash crops to the neglect of food production, and (2) underdeveloped technology and agricultural methods used in food production. On the output side, food shortages are due to ( 1) an inefficient marketing and distribution system, (2) inefficient pricing policies, and (3) fast population growth. A model of five solutions is presented which puts emphasis, on the input side, on (1) a shift of policies from cash crop production to accommodate food crop production as a viable economic development policy, (2) curbing food imports, and (3) boosting domestic food production by empowering women, attracting men to the food production activity, reorganizing production, and improving agricultural technology and methods. On the output side the solutions call for ( 4) reorganizing and improving the distribution, and marketing, and pricing of foodstuffs, and (5) developing rural economies around the food production sector and the agribusiness industry.


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