How media and influencers can help unlock Africa's food security

Media and influencers serve as catalysts in unraveling the complexities of Africa’s food systems. [iStockphoto]

I recently challenged a friend on whether she understands the farming seasons in Kenya and across Africa, as well if she understands food systems.

She mumbled, but I could not blame her, because we forget most courses after graduation. In a continent as diverse as Africa, where most people do not have luxury of three meals, there is a need to understand food systems and the planting season. Being intentional about understanding what food systems is all about and when do we plant and when do we harvest is important for all of us.  

The media as well influencers should be the conveyors of this information, to collaboratively address hunger in the continent. Most time, the media and influencers put a blame game to decision makers, forgetting the role they play in creating awareness of food insecurity.

The food influencers, post nice pictures of food in fancy restaurants but, ignore to tell us where the food come from or whether we have enough food in the continent. To address food insecurity, we need to ask ourselves hard questions. Where does this food come from? Was the seed variety the best? What crop can withstand the dry weather pattern in Mbeere, Moyale, Mwingi among other places.

How do we transport food from farms? How do we store this food? This way, we can change the hunger narrative in the continent.

Media outlets and influencers serve as powerful conduits of information, playing a central role in communicating the challenges and opportunities within Africa’s food systems. Through a variety of mediums such as print, broadcast, and digital platforms, they have ability to bring attention to various stages of food production, distribution and consumption. From the vast agricultural landscapes to bustling urban markets, media outlets capture the essence of the food journey, allowing the public to witness the challenges faced by farmers, the intricacies of supply chains, and the impact on local communities.

Influencers, with their wide-reaching social media platforms, amplify these messages, utilising their personal brands to engage and educate audiences on the multifaceted nature of food systems. Through compelling storytelling and visual content, they bridge the gap between complex agricultural processes and the everyday lives of their followers. One of the key contributions of media and influencers lies in their ability to spotlight innovative agricultural practices and solutions. Africa is a hotbed of agricultural innovation, with farmers, scientists, and entrepreneurs developing sustainable solutions.

Media platforms can showcase success stories, from the adoption of climate-smart farming techniques to integration of technology in agriculture. 

By featuring these narratives, media outlets and influencers not only inspire change but also provide a platform for exchange of ideas. The spotlight on innovations in agriculture encourages adoption of best practices, promoting resilience and sustainability across diverse landscapes.

Understanding Africa’s food systems requires a nuanced approach that takes into account the continent’s rich cultural diversity. Media outlets and influencers, when operating with cultural sensitivity, can bridge gaps in understanding between urban and rural, traditional and modern. By providing a platform for local voices and perspectives, they contribute to a more comprehensive and accurate portrayal of the challenges and opportunities within African food systems. This approach enriches the narrative and fosters a sense of inclusivity, ensuring that the complexities of food systems are understood in their local context.

Finally, media and influencers serve as catalysts in unraveling the complexities of Africa’s food systems. Through their communication prowess, spotlighting innovations, addressing challenges, fostering cultural understanding, advocating for policies, and leading educational initiatives, they play a critical role in shaping a more informed and engaged public.

As Africa navigates the challenges and opportunities within its food systems, the collaborative efforts of media and influencers are indispensable for driving positive change, fostering sustainability, and ensuring food security for generations to come.

-The writer is a multimedia communication expert.