World Food Day: Kenya’s Stance on Food Security

World Food Day is celebrated annually on the 16th of October. The goal of World Food day is to show commitment to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 – to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. It’s also a day to celebrate the progress that has been made towards reaching Zero Hunger. The theme for 2017 is “Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and Rural development”.

In Kenya, the achievement of national food security is a key objective of the agricultural sector. Food security in this case is defined as “ a situation in which all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” (Kenya Food Security Steering Group, 2008). In the recent years, and especially starting from 2008, Kenya has been facing severe food insecurity problems. These are depicted by a high proportion of the population having no access to food in the right amounts and quality. Official estimates indicate over 10 million people are food insecure with majority of them living on food relief.

The current food insecurity problems are attributed to several factors key being climate change. The world’s poorest many of whom are farmers, fishers and pastoralists are being hit hardest by higher temperatures and an increasing frequency in weather-related disasters. In Kenya, climate change which has led to failed rainfall for consecutive seasons and therefore recurrent droughts which deplete the livelihoods of the community not to mention increased food prices

It is estimated that four million Kenyans are in need of food aid. To meet such a heavy demand, agriculture and food systems will need to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and become more resilient, productive and sustainable. This is the only way that we can ensure the wellbeing of ecosystems and rural populations. This calls for growing food in a sustainable way which means adopting practices that produce more with less in the same area of land and use natural resources wisely.

Our office in Kenya, through the Education pillar have been addressing the food insecurity issue through provision of school meals in their areas of operation, hence fulfilling our vision and purpose of creating a world where no child goes to bed hungry. The Food and nutrition pillar, train pregnant and lactating mothers about proper nutrition and the foods to consume and feed the baby during the 1000 days of child which are critical.

The livelihoods pillar has been working in collaboration with the ministry of Agriculture to teach communities how to grow their own food (vegetables and fruits) through kitchen gardens where various simple and cost effective technologies are used such as; moist beds, multistory gardens, hanging gardens and keyhole. The trainings target parents, school board of members and pupils in the school. The parents select champion farmers who become ambassadors of the knowledge and skills on kitchen gardening in the community. Through the 4k-club, the pupils are trained and later cascade the knowledge to their peers. This helps to foster the need to address food security through production and the kitchen gardens serve as a learning center for the community, parents and pupils.

The MOA hosted the agricultural show for 7 days (2nd -8th October) where they exhibited simple technologies that facilitate bridging the gap of food insecurity. They also sensitized the community on the various types quality seeds and drought tolerant crops especially for the communities in the ASAL areas.

This year, we will be joining parents, pupils and the community in Ngando primary to celebrate World Food Day. The ministry of agriculture staff will take lead in the celebrations where they are expected to educate the community about food production using the kitchen garden that has been established in the school. By strengthening the resilience of champion farmers, schools, and the community at large, we can guarantee food security for the increasing population.