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Change strategy in war on hunger

By The Standard | March 15th 2020

Reports that more than 15 million Kenyans are facing hunger aggravated by poverty and a surge in cost of living should worry us all.   

It should concern the country when poor policies, misplaced priorities and economic inequalities allow food shortage to threaten the very existence of significant portions of our population. What should prick our collective consciousness even more is that in the 21st Century and with reliable data by the UN and local experts, our country is still in the throes of avoidable crises yet those in authority never seem to learn from past blunders. 

In the recently released Global Hunger Index 2019, Kenya is ranked at position 86 out of 117 qualifying sampled countries. With a score of 25.2, the country faces a serious level of hunger. At least 15 million people are deemed vulnerable. Each year when hunger strikes the perpetually vulnerable counties of Turkana, Marsabit, Wajir, Baringo, West Pokot, Tana River and Mandera, an appeal is tossed and a fund set up to coordinate relief efforts.

Now, poverty and hunger are correlated. Without going all out to address underlying issues like insecurity, joblessness, high cost of living, better environmental consciousness and lack of supportive policies, it points to serious dereliction of duty. We take this opportunity to urge the government to do whatever it takes to ensure the country becomes fully food secure. We can do it. To get off this road to ruin, counties and the national government should invest in research and reliable early warning systems to help stem effects of droughts, famine and floods.

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