EDITORIAL: More should be done to resolve food crisis
Sunday, May 26, 2019 21:00
It is no surprise that the country is facing a food crisis due to the failed rains.
The nagging question in many Kenyans’ minds is what the government is going to do to mitigate against the current situation.
While the failed rains have not spared other East African states, Kenyans are seeking assurances that the measures adopted by their government will not end up hurting them.
One worrying trend is that with the failed rains will come food shortages and high food prices, which will only end up hurting the common man at the grassroots.
The US government’s Famine Early Warning System last week warned that poor households will significantly experience greater shortages of food.
It also said that conditions in pastoral areas of Kenya are expected to deteriorate.
Acute malnutrition is expected to become more prevalent in many households as a result of the failed rains.
According to the agency, maize harvests in Kenya are expected to be far below average due to the poor weather conditions.
But a most glaring fact is that farmers are still up in arms over the prices the government has offered to buy last season’s harvest. As a result, many farmers have opted to store their maize harvests while waiting for the prices to improve.
We aver that the government should sit down with the farmers and come up with a tangible solution.
It does not make sense for the country to lack adequate food supply yet there are enough stocks in maize stores belonging to our farmers.
The main bone of contention has been that what the government is offering to buy the cereals is less than the input costs that the farmers have spent.
According to the Intergovernmental Authority of Development, Kenya is facing the worst dry weather in 38 years. The long rains season that runs from March until May has not started. leaving farmers counting heavy losses.
Agriculture accounts for close to a third of the country’s annual economic output. There seems to be no reprieve in sight as the national weather agency has also warned farmers not to expect the long rains, but to brace themselves for scarcity of water for drinking, sanitation and industrial use. A quick solution to the current impasse is needed.