Food security: Good governance sure way out of food crisis trap

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019 00:00 |
Maize farming. Photo/Courtesy

According to the state of food security and nutrition in the world report 2019, food insecurity is defined as limited access to food both at the individual and household level due to lack of money or other resources. 

For Kenya to end food insecurity, we must rethink our politics and economics using global lenses. 

Bad national politics create a fertile ground for conflicts which lead to less productivity. Furthermore, political conflicts hinder development of inclusive policies. 

Researches have proven that social exclusion exacerbates food insecurity. 

The political heat that maize has generated point to a sector enmeshed in bad politics. It is through bad politics that substandard food find its way into the country.  Substandard goods not only negatively affect health of a nation but also hinder growth of local agriculture industry. 

However, it should be remembered that international business is important for attainment of food security. Through global trade we can fill the gap of what we are not producing. We require better policies that will prevent rogue traders from engaging in unscrupulous business. 

Geopolitics and international economics are at the centre of international trade. To get value, policy makers must understand our national interests and work towards achieving them through strategic collaboration and partnership. 

According to the 2019 world food security status report, to attain food security, first, there should be a deliberate effort to curb rising food prices. This could be done by introducing subsidies or waiving import tariffs. However, caution must be taken when such policies are implemented. 

Public participation must be given priority in determining what products need to be subsidised. It is not lost on many Kenyans of the maize scandal that saw substandard maize flood the Kenyan market after removal of import tariffs in 2017. 

Secondly, it is imperative to foster inclusive structural transformation to reduce economic vulnerability. This will happen if counties will embrace specialisation especially in the agriculture sector.

Counties have an obligation to develop sectors that they have comparative advantage which in turn will lead to mass production and enhance international business. 

The National government must continue to invest in infrastructure to open rural economies. This would help increase productivity. 

Thirdly, encouraging regional integration is critical. Globalisation has opened up the world. However, climate change now poses great danger to developing countries more than it does to developed ones. 

The adverse impact of climate change on food security calls for a globally united approach to tackling the phenomenon.

Global effort to curb the impact of climate change needs a strong national voice.Policy makers must embrace knew knowledge in order to devise better ways of handling the negative impacts of climate change. —The writer is a Master’s student at the University of Nairobi

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