Third Eye

It’s time to focus on food security, not politicking

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021 00:00 |
Food security threat.

Kenyans will never forgive the current crop of leaders and those jostling for power in the forthcoming election, unless they urgently resolve the food security challenge facing citizens.

With the economy in the intensive care unit;a high tax burden, rising fuel prices, drought ravaging 21 counties and a looming threat of floods, wananchi are crying out.

Misery amid a devastating  pandemic that has shattered the lives and livelihoods of the poor millions suffering the shame and tragedy of bad governance and failed policies.

No amount of political posturing, clichés and stereotyping by so-called people’s representatives and State House aspirants will convince citizens that politicians have their interests at heart.

Despite the Kenyan economy’s high dependency on agriculture as a source of revenue and livelihood for the majority, millions of Kenyans survive on one meal a day-a sad irony in a country replete with clever rhetoric from satiated, self-entitled political elite!

We are a nation of hungry people and a nation of people hungry for power – an untenable situation at the root of the catalogue of pain, starvation and impoverishment inflicted upon citizens, courtesy of political double-speak and double standards.

Politicians have defied the Constitution, defiled democracy, contributed to gross violation of human rights and impeded the path of sustainable development. Wananchi are tired of political rhetoric. 

We are in the middle of a ticking time bomb of restless citizens demanding permanent resolution of perennial challenges of poverty, unemployment, education, health and hunger. The first item on the national agenda is ensuring food security and nutrition for the people.

The recent African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Nairobi, disclosed that the high cost of healthy diets and persistently high levels of poverty and income inequality, continue to keep healthy diets out of reach for around three billion people, including millions of Kenyans.

Food and nutrition security and transforming agro-food systems top the agenda at this week’s United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York. Kenyans expect President Uhuru Kenyatta to champion this cause when he joins other world leaders for the UN Food Systems Summit.

Indigenous communities, family farmers, rural women and youth will be seated at the high table in an Independent Dialogues session at the summit convened to urgently transform global food systems and help lift millions out of hunger and poverty.

The President’s legacy Big 4 agenda has food security as a pillar. Wananchi want to see all presidential aspirants abandon sly, aggressive politicking in the succession race to concentrate on uplifting small-scale farmers and pastoralists who uphold our economy.

They must compel the government to fulfil the African Union Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa adopted by Heads of State and Government in July 2003 and the Malabo Declaration of 2014.

In Maputo, the leaders committed to allocate at least 10 per cent of national budgetary resources to agriculture and rural development policy implementation within five years.

Malabo went further by identifying specific goals and targets to be achieved within ten years. 

The targets include ending hunger, tripling intra-African trade in agricultural goods and services, enhancing resilience of livelihoods and production systems, ensuring that agriculture contributes significantly to poverty reduction.

Nearly 20 years after Maputo, this commitment is far from being realised and the 10 p[er cent pledge remains largely unfulfilled. 

That is the bane of our nation. Let us not bite the hand that feeds our economy by short-changing it at the expense of cheap politics. [email protected]

More on Third Eye