Too many headlines have hit our eyes in the past years. It has become the same script! We’ve been running out of our staple food such as maize flour. As a country that produces maize, this is embarrassingly sad. Whether it’s political malice or storage mishaps or lack of planning, we’ll not always be very certain. One thing is for sure though; food shortages are becoming too common as years go by. The other certain thing is that our population is increasing and we need food to feed us for years and years to come. We can blame the government and rightfully so. We can also blame ourselves for not holding the people responsible accountable and letting them get away with so much until we’re faced with hiked food prices and starvation. It’s been a cycle. We’ve tolerated this for many decades.
Every year, as a country we find ourself in the same situation of hunger and starvation. Families die, children die, our aging parents die – not because of diseases but starvation. This must be painful. It is never a good thing to see or hear! And until lives get lost, nothing is done, the immediate thing we get to see and hear is Red Cross appeal for donation, inform of cash or food to feed our fellow Kenyans. Where do we go wrong? We have failed at food planning, from production to preserving. Isit that we do not produce enough, and if we are not, what is being done to change that? If we are producing enough, are we keeping it well? When we produce less, are we doing enough to keep it for days a head?
The fact that every year parts of Kenya faces starvation, simply means that food is not prioritized hence lives don’t matter. As a country, we do not have strategies in line with our country’s food basket and no one is giving it a keen look. We MUST have enough food to sustain us for the longesttime possible just incase things go wrong. And of late, a lot of things have been going dead wrong. Changes in climatic conditions, unscrupulous agricultural inputs flooding the market, depleted soils, disease and pest challenges. We also have a lot of post-harvest challenges. There is a lot of food wastage that occurs as well. By the way, every 5 years, politicians don’t come up with agenda that inclines towards food security.
We’re busy accumulating land not for farming and forestry, to increase our food production but to build fancy buildings and rentals that may or may not be occupied due to the exorbitant prices we’ll charge. After all we’re looking at our future investments. Nothing wrong with progressing but can we also push people to buy land for farming? Can we preach tree planting? Can we cultivate more? Can we preserve the little forest cover we have left? Can we make this our collective responsibility as friends and neighbours? Our production MUST go up and our farmers must be encouraged to keep nurturing us. If they stopped or reduced today, woe unto all of us; rich or poor. We’ll all suffer the same fate. Whatever walk of life you come from, remember food unites us and it’s our problem eventually: ALL OF US! An empowered nation is a nation that can feed itself, one that no one has to die through starvation.