The Route to Food Alliance has raised an alarm over the recent press reports that have highlighted the plight of thousands of Kenyans at risk of starvation.
The alliance members say they welcome the emergency interventions announced by the government and urge the authorities to ramp up efforts to ensure that no other Kenyan dies of hunger.
“It is the constitutional obligation of the government to respect, protect and fulfill this basic human right which goes beyond the minimum core responsibility of emergency food aid. It requires progressive action to address the food and nutrition security needs of the country,” said the Alliance.
Out of the total expenditure by the national government, since FY2013/14 less than 4 percent of the total voted budget has been allocated to the Agriculture Rural and Urban Development (ARUD) sector.
A similar pattern of low allocations to agriculture is observed in the county budgets. Out of the county budgets between the FY2013/14 and FY2018/19, less than 4 percent is allocated to food and nutrition security except for the FY2014/15.
The trend of low and declining investments to the sector that literally feeds the nation and provides employment for over 40% of the population is unacceptable, and quite the opposite of the government’s obligation to the progressive realization of each individual’s right to adequate food.
In addition, we have regularly called on the government to invest more in smallholder producers and local agroecological food systems, which would establish a food web in Kenya that supports the production of healthy food, protects the country’s agricultural biodiversity, and enhances resilience to climate change.
Indeed, even in perfect weather conditions, when the headlines are not focused on acute hunger, one in four Kenyans is estimated to suffer from undernourishment – a situation that is unacceptable in the 21st century.
“We call on Kenyan political leaders, both at national and county level, to commit to a pledge that no Kenyan shall die of hunger any longer. Indeed, they should commit that no Kenyan shall go to bed hungry anymore,” added the Alliance.
Finally, as elections approach, we plead with Kenyan voters to only reward candidates who demonstrate sensible and practical ideas that will uplift all citizens from the humiliation and death of chronic poverty and hunger.