Act now to avert deaths from widespread hunger

OPINION |
The situation in Kenya is dire. [iStock]

The number of people threatened by severe hunger in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia has risen from 10 million to 23 million people in just one year. These gloomy statistics are contained in a recent report by Oxfam and Save the Children Fund. The report further shows that one person is likely to die from hunger every 48 seconds.

Hunger and starvation are a global challenge, especially in the face climate change ravages. According to the United Nations, the Horn of Africa region is facing the worst drought in 40 years. Yet despite improved early warning systems on weather patterns, respective governments have failed to put in place measures to mitigate the projected extremities of weather conditions.

In September 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared hunger a national disaster, a declaration that should have galvanised relevant agencies into action. Unfortunately, the situation continues to move from bad to worse. It does not help that we are in the midst of a campaign period when the attention of our leaders is distracted.

The situation in Kenya is dire. The government must wake up to this reality and confront it head-on. Rains have failed for years running and although the government has allowed the importation of maize to cover the national shortfall, there is no guarantee that the target will be achieved.

Climate change has affected global production, which means many countries will preserve their stocks.

It behooves the government to offer farmers good prices for maize to encourage them sell surplus grain to the National and Cereals Board. A lot of maize is going to waste because of poor storage facilities by disillusioned farmers.

Reliance on rain-fed agriculture is our undoing. Time has come for the government to invest in irrigation schemes to increase food production to feed the ever growing population. Besides, the government should sensitise citizens on modern agricultural practices that guarantee maximum yield.   

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