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Hunger in Kenya: Is leadership or nature to blame?

By Epuri Lebasha (2015)

It is common understanding that this is an all known topic in Kenya, if I may say. Ideally, this is not the first time that Kenyans have been threatened with hunger, neither will it be the last time, lest the political leadership and food policymakers rethink and learn that famine does not have to occur, which is actually impossible in the real sense.

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 whom to shift the blame to, giving nature its part and also the people concerned in the ministry as the aspect of regions and food production potentiality comes in too.

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 due to them being in arid and semi-arid zones with a high degree of water scarcity, especially the northern part of the country, inhabited by the nomadic communities. 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?

In my thinking as an agronomy student, I have always seen possibility of food production 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 deaths due to hunger? Of course, that’s what’s next.

It’s a high time the leadership concerned re-checks on the Agricultural sector. Imagine a world without the agriculturalist; the producer, whom we actually rate as among the less important people in the society. Just imagine a society without them; then from there, think of what can be done to uplift them, because our future is at their hands .IT IS A HIGH TIME WE RE-THINK ON THE MAIN CAUSES OF HUNGER.Is it because there is totally nothing to be done, or because there is no one specifically responsible of the situation? Who is to blame for the hunger situation in Kenya?


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