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Lack of records to blame for perennial food shortage, experts

WOMEN RECEIVE RELIEF FOOD AT THE COAST IN MARCH. FILE PHOTO | NMG
WOMEN RECEIVE RELIEF FOOD AT THE COAST IN MARCH. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

Agricultural experts have blamed the perennial food shortage in the country on lack of proper records.

They spoke at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Egerton University and Michigan University in the US.

According to Dr Milu Muyanga from the Michigan University, Kenya and Rwanda are the only countries in Africa which don’t have agricultural census.

“We are comparing ourselves with Rwanda and yet Kenya has been a stable country and funny enough we don’t know the exact number of farmers we have in the country,” said Dr Muyanga.

He said for a country to formulate agricultural and economic policies, there must be data availability to guide the process.

Prof Tom Jayne of Michigan University in the US, proper agricultural records help countries in planning for food sustainability.

He said Kenya could manage its food security situation better with proper agricultural records maintenance.

Prof Jayne said keeping data was inevitable for any country that seeks to achieve food stability.

The two universities signed an MOU that will see them push for policy issues in the agricultural sector in Kenya, among others

The MOU was signed under Egerton University Center of Excellence in Sustainable Agriculture and Agribusiness Management (CESAAM) and will last for five years.

According to Prof Jayne, the aim is to cement a collaboration that will see more universities from the continent involved.



A TURKANA WOMAN CARRIES HIDES SKINNED FROM GOATS SHE HAS LOST TO A BITING DROUGHT THAT HAS RAVAGED LIVESTOCK POPULATION IN NORTHERN KENYA. FILE PHOTO | NMG 
A TURKANA WOMAN CARRIES HIDES SKINNED FROM GOATS SHE HAS LOST TO A BITING DROUGHT THAT HAS RAVAGED LIVESTOCK POPULATION IN NORTHERN KENYA. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

“The project will also involve different universities from African countries which include Juba, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda that will work with the Michigan University,” she said.

The team comprises strong researchers who will work closely with the students.

The initiative seeks to build capacity and produce masters and PhD level graduates as well as inform to inform pressing policy issuing facing Kenya.

“The key issues on focus will be capacity building, policy guidance and mutual institution building. Even though we have signed a five years MOU we intend to work together that will extend the partnerships for decades,” Dr Muyanga said.

The project leader, Prof George Owuor, said the project is funded by the World Bank and currently has 54 students from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan.

Egerton University’s Vice-Chancellor Prof. Rose Mwonya welcomed the move and said she was looking forward to have the institution benefit from the partnership.

“The need for active collaboration came out quite strongly during these engagements and Egerton University looks forward to benefiting from these partnerships,” she said.

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