Experts call on State to cushion the vulnerable
Hunger may become deadlier than Covid-19 if governments do not cusion vulnerable people, experts have warned.
In a virtual panel discussion organised by ONE Africa and Alliance for Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA), the experts asked all governments to step up efforts to ensure adequate food reserves by stepping up local production and storage, and called on donors to fully fund the $1.5 billion requested by the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP)..
“Food security concerns go hand-in-hand with pandemics,” said Edwin Ikhuori, ONE’s Africa Executive Director.
With the invasion of desert locust, floods and containment measures for Covid-19, Kenya and Uganda are the most affected in the region.
Kenya in particular heavily relies on supplies of commodities such as onions, fruits, tomatoes and other vegetables from Tanzania through Namanga border.
Saving the situation
Yet, due to Covid-19 pandemic containment measures, movements across the border have been restricted.
The experts from the AGRA and ONE – a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030 said that there exists a window of opportunity for governments to save the situation, and plan for future eventualities, but only if they act in time.
“We are heading towards a real disaster because when hunger strikes, people will always protest,” said Dr Fadel Ndiame, AGRA’s deputy president.
As a short-term measure, they want African governments to expand and improve food assistance and social protection programmes to protect the most vulnerable including cash-based transfers as the primary safety net.