Ugali emanates from maize flour’ is a common adage in my local dialect, given that expected and predictable outcomes arise from a blend of desirable efforts and inputs.
Lately, records in many health facilities in the central Kenya show rising cases of lifestyle-related ailments. Similarly, stunting in children less than two years stood at 15 percent. These percentages are high in a region perceived as food secure.
Approximately 80 percent of stunting cases are managed before the age of two, beyond which irreversible and compromises on the immune systems, memory functioning, and brain development occur. Alcoholism remains an eyesore in the region also. Overindulgence is common in an idle, irresponsible, and unproductive youthful population.
Our health is more or less dependent on the health of our production systems. Incidentally, the foods we consume, processed or raw are lacking in essential minerals for proper body development and functioning. Consumption of low-quality foods leads to common ailments and body dysfunction.
Mineral deficiency in crop and livestock products arises from wanting crop production and husbandry systems. Crops and pasture performance is dependent on nutrients they draw from soils, which then get transferred to humans and animals upon consumption. Poor farming, therefore affects the general wellbeing of the populace.
There have been numerous attempts at enriching human and livestock feed with essential supplements while value-adding to bridge the deficiencies.
However, supplementation in itself does not guarantee the quality of products at the retail counters and ultimately on the dining table.
Poor soil management and farming practices are the main contributors to soil leaching. Soil fertility has overtime been compromised due to overuse, thus making agriculture as a source of food and income to the majority of peasant farmers unsustainable and unattractive.
Soil exhaustion and acidity, according to experts represses root cell division, root enlargement, growth, and branching, thus narrowing nutrients and water absorption.
Besides, changing weather patterns as a result of climate change and global warming further impacts crop production prospects.
Incidentally, recurring drought and flood incidences piles pressure on scarce and dwindling natural resources, compromising on the quality and quantity of food yields, their utilization, and absorption.
Also, experts consider zinc and selenium as critical minerals for proper body functioning, especially to the male gender in their fertility bracket. The conversion of zinc and selenium from the soils by plants get blocked under acidic conditions. Zinc and selenium deficiency in humans could lead to dysfunctional reproductive organs and alcohol cravings.
Assuming the narrative is correct, it then explains the dropping birthrates and growing insobriety among this productive populace across the board.
In essence, the health of society is wholly dependent on healthy soils, hence the need to make adequate investments to soil treatment practices, restoration options and conservation.
Kiragu Kariuki Nyeri