07-07-2022 by redazione
The United Nations World Food Programme has outlined the very serious situation in Kenya, which is grappling with one of the worst food insecurity crises in fifty years.
But there is no need to wait for data from international organisations, you only have to be on the ground, walking around the villages, listening to the words of the poor people, and you can easily realise how quickly the situation is worsening.
The combination of drought, adverse weather, international crisis and debt inflation in the country is bringing at least eight counties to their knees, especially those where people live almost exclusively on agriculture and livestock.
'They are starving while seeing livestock die,' is the WFP's bitter comment. 'We expect crop yields for the current season to be less than half the five-year average.
The counties of the semi-arid areas, Lamu, Kilifi, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Turkana, Samburu, West Pokot, Baringo, Kajiado, Narok, Laikipia, Nyeri, Embu, Meru, Isiolo, Wajir, Garissa and Mandera, have had virtually no or very little rainfall since last year when rainfall had already been below average, and are in a dire situation that could plunge them into unprecedented food insecurity.
According to the most recent studies, some three million people have been living well below the threshold of necessary daily nourishment since last February.
This figure is the result of declining harvests and a lack of work, with many small and medium-sized businesses having failed to restart after the pandemic.
Maize production, the country's most widespread livelihood, has fallen by 13% and the cost of Kenya's staple, ugali, has increased by 100%, with the price of maize meal hitting a high of 240 shillings last month.
Not to mention the side-effects of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has led to an increase in fertilisers, insecticides and other agricultural commodities. With the risk that extreme poverty and hunger will force, as is already happening, peasant families who have lived and fed themselves by working the land for generations, to sell off their possessions in the hope of overcoming this difficult time or decide to use the land for other activities. Those who clear forests to sell wood and charcoal, those who burn plots to build or rent to industries.
The government recalled the recent move of tax relief for those who buy fertilisers and other measures to meet the needs of farmers.
The fact is that in the 2022/23 budget, only 66.8 billion shillings have been allocated to the sector, which is less than two per cent of the total budget.
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