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Editorials

EDITORIAL: Food insecurity should spur country into action

It will not be a surprise for the government to be announcing relief food distribution later this year. FILE PHOTO | NMG
It will not be a surprise for the government to be announcing relief food distribution later this year. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The rains are finally here, after a biting drought that had pushed millions of Kenyans to the precipice. Unfortunately, there is not much to smile about for the starving and thirsty citizens, going by historical evidence.

The rains are likely to come and go without making much difference to food security and water supply in the country.

It will not be a surprise for the government to be announcing relief food distribution later this year, after the temporary relief that the rain season is expected to offer. The Meteorological Department has warned of possible flash floods in various parts of the country.

Unfortunately, again, the warning is not likely to move national and local government officials to action, until there is news of deaths or near-deaths due to flooded roads and collapsed buildings and bridges. It is a shame that this appears to be the predictable cycle, year-in-year out.

It is not for lack of planning that the country finds itself in the perennial cycle of misery. There are very deeply thought-out blueprints gathering dust on the shelves of multiple government agencies.

The real problem is a lack of implementation of these plans. The Jubilee government, for example, singled out agriculture as a key policy focus which was touted as the country’s solution to food shortage.

Five years later and billions of shillings down the drain, there is nothing to show for all the political noise that was made with regard to irrigation and construction of water harvesting dams.

Previous regimes did not fare any better, which is why millions of Kenyans still go to bed hungry more than half a century after independence.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has rightly included agriculture in his ‘Big Four’ plan of key economic growth stimulants during his second and final term in office.

The taste of the pudding is in the eating, but claims of under-funding of the ‘Big Four’ in the national budget already point to a false start.

Mr Kenyatta should realise that besides the urge to leave a lasting legacy, the issue of food insecurity is one of national shame and indignity for Kenyans who struggle to put food on the table every day.   

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