News / Africa

Kenyan Farmers Call for Government to Assist with Food Distribution

Turkana women wait for food relief at Kalok Tonyang in the Turkana district northwest of Nairobi, Kenya ,August 9, 2011.
Turkana women wait for food relief at Kalok Tonyang in the Turkana district northwest of Nairobi, Kenya ,August 9, 2011.

In central Kenya, food is rotting while at least 3.5 million Kenyans are going hungry mostly in the arid and semi-arid north.

The reasons for this are many: poor roads, limited transportation and storage facilities.

Farmers are now calling on the Kenyan government to step in to buy and get the food to those suffering from the impact of the Horn of Africa’s worst drought in more than 50 years.

In the midst of a food crisis in parts of Kenya due to drought, farmers cannot even give away what they grow in Kinangop Constituency - about a 90 minute drive from Nairobi.  

In the lush, 1,400-square-kilometer constituency in the Rift Valley, farmers say bad roads and lack of transport make it difficult for them to get their produce to the market.  And they complain about a big drop in food prices.

During a recent trip to the area, VOA was able to purchase 30 cabbages - an entire trunk full - for a total of $1.50.

But what really bothers farmer Nahashon Gitau is that he wastes at least one-quarter of his harvest during the region’s worst drought in more than half a century.

“It is for the government to make some arrangements - perhaps even give transport. Then, they can buy it at a good price, then give it to those people instead of asking for food from overseas, which is very bad," said Gitau. "When we are throwing away food, they are asking for food from overseas.”

He believes if the government were to offer a fair price for his produce, his almost three hectare farm could contribute a lot to feeding millions of hungry Kenyans impacted by the worst drought in a half century.  

“From my farm? I would perhaps sell every season say, 100 bags of potatoes, and perhaps 10,000 heads of cabbages, say three times in a year, I can manage that product," Gitau stated. "And I’ve got some other farmers who can do even better than me.”

Kinangop District officer Peninnih Dzombo tells VOA why local governments have not made it a priority to act.

“We’ve not really had a forum to voice that out. In our department, in most cases we usually work through reports and all that. So it depends on who will read the report," noted Dzombo. "But we have not made the effort to have it like a priority that we want A, B, C addressed.”

She says her office does not receive enough funds from the central government to pave roads and take other measures to improve farmers’ access to markets.

The Kenyan government office in charge of disaster relief, the Ministry of State for Special Programs, did not respond to VOA's repeated requests for an interview on the situation.

But the Kinangop Constituency highlights long-running inefficiencies in food distribution and agricultural markets within Kenya.

Scholars agree widely that, with proper systems in place, Kenya does have the capacity to feed itself, even during times of drought.

Instead, foreign food aid and food imports continue to pour in. Economists say food imports reduce local food prices, decrease the productivity of Kenyan farmers, and increase dependency among the people.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More