The need for integration of drought monitoring tools for proactive food security management in sub-Saharan Africa

Authors


  • Dr. Tsegaye Tadesse is with the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska 68583, USA. E-mail: ttadesse2@unl.edu.

  • Dr. Menghestab Haile is with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Rome, Italy.

  • Dr. Gabriel Senay is with SAIC, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57198, USA.

  • Dr. Brian D. Wardlow and Dr. Cody L. Knutson are with the National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska 68583, USA.

Abstract

Reducing the impact of drought and famine remains a challenge in sub-Saharan Africa despite ongoing drought relief assistance in recent decades. This is because drought and famine are primarily addressed through a crisis management approach when a disaster occurs, rather than stressing preparedness and risk management. Moreover, drought planning and food security efforts have been hampered by a lack of integrated drought monitoring tools, inadequate early warning systems (EWS), and insufficient information flow within and between levels of government in many sub-Saharan countries. The integration of existing drought monitoring tools for sub-Saharan Africa is essential for improving food security systems to reduce the impacts of drought and famine on society in this region. A proactive approach emphasizing integration requires the collective use of multiple tools, which can be used to detect trends in food availability and provide early indicators at local, national, and regional scales on the likely occurrence of food crises. In addition, improving the ability to monitor and disseminate critical drought-related information using available modern technologies (e.g., satellites, computers, and modern communication techniques) may help trigger timely and appropriate preventive responses and, ultimately, contribute to food security and sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ancillary