Niger’s harvest last year was not so terrible. Why is the country now so hungry?
asks The Economist in its article Destitution not dearth:
If mass hunger were simply the result of there not being enough to eat, the remedy would be obvious: more food. The emergency rations now being shipped, flown and trucked into the Sahel are indeed necessary and urgent by the time hunger and destitution are acute and widespread. But if mass hunger begins with a collapse in purchasing power, rather than a shortage of food, it does not take an airlift to prevent it. What is needed is a way to restore lost purchasing power by, for example, offering employment, at a suitable wage, on public works. The market respects demand, not need. But give the needy enough pull in the market, and the market will do most of the rest.
May I also mention that good government would make a difference?