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The number of people who need food assistance in Kenya has nearly tripled over seven years, a new report shows.

From 900,000 in 2013, the number of those who require relief food has risen to 2.6 million, according to a report by The Route to Food, an alliance working towards realising the right to food in the country.

It warns the situation is expected to worsen this year because of disruption to farming due to adverse weather, disease and pests’ invasion.

“This year, the numbers will definitely shoot because of what we are facing. We have the pandemic, invasion of locusts and floods,” said Stephen Njaramba, the initiative’s public policy specialist.

He, however, blamed the government for underinvestment in the agricultural sector by continually cutting its budget each financial year.

“Budget allocation for the agricultural sector has been declining since the 2013/2014 financial year. Food security has not been given the attention it needs. The provision in agriculture has dropped from 3.4 per cent in 2013 to 1.6 per cent in 2020,” said Dr Njaramba.

The Route to Food project lead Layla Liebetrau said the analysis was aimed at evaluating whether concerned entities are doing enough to ensure the right to quality food for citizens as outlined in the Constitution. 

“We have seen little significant increase from the proposed agricultural budget that was released in February to the budget statement that was read recently despite a global pandemic,” she said.

Liebetrau added that although there has been an increase in the contribution of the agriculture sector to the growth of gross domestic product over the years, there has been a decline in the financial commitment to the sector by the government.

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The Route to Food Layla Liebetrau Hungry Kenyans
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