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Food experts call for policy adjustments

Barry Silah @obel_barry

A fresh approach to food security is required in Kenya to end systemic hunger and provide adequate and nutritious food to all citizens. This is one of the main findings of a report commissioned by the Route to Food Initiative on the budget analysis of sectors that impact food security.

With a growing population and increasing poverty levels, the ‘feed-the-market’ agricultural policies that see the country prioritising industrial agriculture and cash crops for exports, need to be reversed and replaced with subsistence farming that is supported by government incentives and interventions.

Such interventions, according to experts, include extension services which can help develop and improve the productive capacity of small-scale farmers.

During a stakeholders’ forum in Nairobi Route to Food project leader Layla Liebetrau took issue with defective policies that affect realisation of food security.

“The current feed-the-market policies do not effectively respond to the problem of chronic food and nutrition insecurity for 25 per cent of the population. Instead of sustainable development, the only thing that is sustained is the number of people that depend on philanthropy,” she said.

“As such, lip service and business as usual approach in food security are no longer an option if we want to remove Kenya from the world hunger map.

Small-scale farmers must get stronger incentives and institutional support to re-orient and reward them for supplying food for themselves and subsequently the domestic market.

Similarly, we must also adopt a strategy to diversify our food supply,” she added during the launch of a report, recently released by the Initiative analysing Kenya’s national budget for 2017/2018 and the Budget Policy Statement (BPS) for 2018.

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