Government urged to ramp up efforts to address drought

The Route to Food (RTF) Alliance Tuesday welcomed the emergency interventions announced by the government meant to tackle the ongoing hunger crisis.

The government last week allocated Sh2 billion under the National Drought Emergency Fund which will be used to respond to the ongoing drought situation in the country.

Route to Food alliance which champions the realization of the Right to Food as espoused in Article 43 of the Constitution of Kenya has however urged the authorities to ramp up efforts to ensure that no Kenyan dies of hunger.

The alliance has further noted that the plight of the thousands of Kenyans who are at a risk of starvation can be averted if the government takes on progressive action to address the food and nutrition security needs of the country and move beyond emergency food aid

“Over the last few years, we have regularly called for increased budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector”, the Alliance said in a statement today on the position of ongoing hunger that is facing some communities” Emmanuel Atamba, Route to Food Alliance said.

In their report on the Budget Policy Statement last year, Route To Food (RTF) alliance had said that out of the total expenditure by the national government since 2013/2014 up until 2018/2019 allocation to agriculture has been less than 4 percent except for the year 2015.

Atamba said that the trend of low and declining investments in the sector that literally feeds the nation and provides employment for over 40 percent of the population is unacceptable, and quite the opposite of the government’s obligation to the progressive realisation of each individual’s right to adequate food.

The Alliance has called upon the government to invest more in smallholder producers and local agro ecological 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.

“The national and county governments should start implementing projects that put more money in wananchi’s pockets and strategic infrastructure projects should be prioritized, particularly in ASAL counties, to support economic activities in those regions that raise household incomes as well as lower the cost of food currently raised by gross inefficiencies in the supply chains,” Atamba said.

RTF Alliance further called upon Kenyan political leaders, both at national and county level, to commit to a pledge that no Kenyan shall die of hunger and commit that no Kenyan shall go to bed hungry anymore.

As elections approach, the Alliance has also pleaded with Kenyan voters to only reward candidates who demonstrate sensible and practical ideas that will uplift all citizens from chronic poverty and hunger.

Ministry of Devolution and ASALs Cabinet Secretary (CS) Eugene Wamalwa last week had confirmed last week that so far over 10 counties are affected heavily by drought namely Turkana, Marsabit, Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Isiolo, Samburu, Tana River, Kilifi and Lamu.

“We estimate that the number of people affected by the drought is two million Kenyans and as the national government we are doing everything to support these families by cushioning the most vulnerable people in the counties most affected by the drought,” Wamalwa had said.

  

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