24 February 2015

In Kenya's news (an editorial and excerpts from a recent report): End perennial hunger

Once again Kenya is staring at a depressing scenario of hunger, with 1.6 million people unable to get a decent meal each day, according to the Ministry of Devolution and Planning.

Geographically, the hunger threat is looming over 23 out of the 47 counties. Even more worrying is that some of the counties perceived to be agriculturally high potential areas have fallen into the hunger trap.

Hunger goes with deprivations such as medical services, access to education, and other social entitlements. The main cause is lack of rains and there is no indication that things will improve soon.

The government has resorted to providing relief food, for which it has allocated 3 billion Kenya shillings (32 million US dollars). Whereas the intervention is timely, it is tragic that hunger should perennially stalk our land when we pride ourselves as an agricultural economy.

What this means is that the country is unable to feed its citizens five decades after independence yet it flaunts its success in putting up grandiose infrastructural projects.

The time has come when the country must transform agriculture and ensure food sufficiency to curb the perennial hunger, which dehumanizes and disenfranchises the citizens.
[Daily Nation editorial, 26 February 2015]
"The findings of a recent assessment estimate that at least 1.63 million people are acutely food insecure and will require immediate assistance over the next six months. Due to the famine, over 900 cases of cholera in lower parts of Kisii, Homa Bay, and Migori have been reported."
"In marginal agricultural areas, poor rainfall during the critical stage of crop development caused over 50 percent crop failure. In pastoral areas, normal pasture and water sources have been depleted and availability of milk has declined. In addition, livestock prices are on a downward trend and malnutrition problems are on the increase."
[Joint statement by national and country governments, allAfrica.com (23 February 2015)]

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