Hunger in Kenya: Is leadership or nature to blame?

Media images of hungry, famished and starving Kenyans have become an annual show with the government perennially stretching out its hand egging for relief food.

It has become almost an accepted fact that Kenyans will forever be threatened with hunger. Lest the political leadership and food policymakers rethink and learn that famine does not have to occur, nothing will change. Moreover, as a country, the concerned authorities and parastatals should just accept that it is a disgrace for a country with a potential for food security to be pleading for food aid. However, it is very difficult to assign blame.
It may be possible to argue out that Kenya can, in the future, invest her resources in the ‘potential’ areas that possess the capacity for high productivity returns at the expense of ‘non-potential’ areas, but how viable can this be? Having a closer look, all the areas in Kenya hit hardest by drought and famine are preconceived as ‘non-potential’ areas since they are situated in arid and semi-arid zones. My question is; just by rating the area as unproductive without putting efforts in its productivity, can this justify the action taken, mainly neglecting the area?

As an agronomy student, it is my humble view that food production can be increased in the famine stricken areas. Coming from the northern part of the country, (among the most affected areas of Turkana and Samburu regions) I always view a way out, only that I tend to think that someone somewhere is not putting in the effort required. We live in a world of technology, where nothing is impossible. A lot can be done in these areas. I have witnessed people grow their own crops back at home (Baragoi, Samburu regions) and mark you, these are people trying to put in their best effort possible to produce what they can, with no agronomic advice or so. What if the government under the ministry of Agriculture would play its part? Is it not possible then to have a change in these regions? A larger part of Kenya is dry, and due to climate change effects, the worst should be expected in the years to come. Many productive and potential areas are actually giving a low productivity return in comparison to some years back. So, my question is; what can we attribute this to? Many more famine related deaths?

It’s a high time the Kenyan leadership re-checks the Agricultural sector. We need to inject in the minds of our youth, more positive vibes on the role of agriculturalist. We urgently need to rethink the narrative of hunger and its causes in Kenya.
Epur Lebasha is a second year agronomy student at EARTH University in Costa Rica.

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