How was the food situation in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Dear Indy and Team!

With the world food situation deteriorating due to WW2, I was wondering what the food situation was in Sub-Saharan Africa. We know that Iran, Bengal and regions in India were facing famines in 1942/1943 due to the fighting in other parts of the world, but what was the situation in Sub-Saharan Africa? Did the Allies also “steal” (or withheld) food from these regions? Or was this part of Africa left alone from interference? I can imagine that Italian East-Africa (modern day Ethiopia and Somalia) were facing additional food problems due to the war in these regions as the Italians lost there, but was it solved after the British took over?

Greetings from the Netherlands,


Near as I can tell, it didn’t change due to WW2. The British before the war, had an empire worth of imports, which stopped in 1939. After that, food and coal (initially) came from the US and Canada - the first convoy left September 2nd, 1939. The Germans, and Japanese both used expropriation (that is, theft) from conquered areas; the Soviets deliberately caused famine in parts of the USSR to support the Army. In North Africa, the Vichy French and Italians expropriated food.

The scale of the convoys from North America to England was such that even with losses, ships could be made available for shipments to the USSR starting in June 1941.

Food from Sub-Saharan Africa was, compared to that from the US/Canada just wasn’t worth sending. Famines in India and Bengal were mostly due to environmental factors, not expropriation. The British were not very interested in trying to find a way to work food distribution out to lessen the effect, it must be said - but stealing food from Eastern Africa to feed Indians was not even considered.

Hope this helps!

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