Don't eat cash for the hungry — ACK bishop

Prays there won't be famine billionaires like the the Covid billionaires

In Summary
  • The country requires about Sh15 billion to mitigate the drought situation as it steps up efforts to distribute food and water.
  • At least 4.1 million Kenyans are in need of food aid.
Mombasa ASK chairman Anisa Abdalla hands bananas to Mombasa ACK Bishop Alphonce Mwaro accompanied by ASK CEO Brian Muthoka
PECIOUS FOOD: Mombasa ASK chairman Anisa Abdalla hands bananas to Mombasa ACK Bishop Alphonce Mwaro accompanied by ASK CEO Brian Muthoka

Government officials have been warned against "Eating" money meant to buy food for needy Kenyans in drought-stricken areas.

Anglican Church of Kenya Mombasa Diocese Bishop Alphonce Baya Mwaro issued the warning after Sunday service at the Mombasa Memorial Cathedral. It followed a thanksgiving and harvest mass for the Agricultural Society of Kenya, Mombasa branch

Mwaro said no Kenyan should die of hunger.

Four failed rain seasons have left 4.4 million people in need of food aid. The country needs about Sh15 billion to mitigate the drought situation as it steps up efforts to distribute food and water.

“As the government distributes food for relief, let us hope that there will be no famine billionaires as there were during the Covid-19 pandemic, when we had Covid billionaires,” Mwaro said.

“It is a shame that today people are dying of hunger and starvation and lack of water yet with good strategies, these are challenges that can be dealt with once and for all."

He said it is possible for the country to produce enough food for everyone regardless of the season.

The bishop cited Israel, which has turned the Negev desert into an agricultural powerhouse, produce more than enough to export and donate to needy countries.

“It should then be more than enough for Kenya with very expansive arable land and arid lands, with good management of land and water systems, to deliver food for everyone,” Mwaro said.

The bishop also said that the hunger experienced in the country is a man-made problem emanating from the process of production, distribution and consumption of food.

He appealed to the government to undertake what he termed strategic preparedness. 

“I see it as a paradox. Today there are many people who feed more than ever before and there are others who are hungry more than ever before.

"This hunger is just for a select few, it is not for everyone in Kenya. Why? Because there is a problem with the system that is delivering food on our plates. That needs to be addressed,” he said.

He further called on the government to ensure that no Kenyan dies of hunger and ensure that every Kenyan affected by drought receives enough food and water.

The lasting solution to the situation, he said, will be proper investment in research and technology and farm inputs that will ensure the country has enough food production.

“How would a family survive with two kilograms of rice, maize and a gallon of water? It is impossible. They need to do more and provide more,” he said.

He urged Christians faithful across the country to complement what the government is doing by sharing what they have been blessed with to feed those in need.

He further encouraged the church to undertake afforestation programs to increase the country's green cover and arrest the drought situation in the country.

“We cannot deal with the problem of drought without planting trees. This year, as a church we have planted more than 7,000 trees because we know with planting of trees then we are solving the issue of global warming.

"The country needs to be cool and this can be achieved through growing trees,” he said.

Mombasa ASK chairman Anisa Abdalla also called on Kenyans to plant trees and practice water harvesting methods.

She urged coastal residents to attend the Mombasa ASK International Show that will open its gates to the public on Wednesday to learn more about smart farming technologies to ensure that Kenya is food secure.

“I would like to encourage the youth to understand that farming is the way to go now, there are no white collar jobs. We have a lot installed for them to learn,” said Abdalla.

She confirmed that 150 local and international exhibitors had confirmed attendance as they expect the number to hit 200 by Wednesday.

The show is resuming after having been suspended for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic that hit the country in 2020.

Abdalla said that the show is premised under the theme, ‘Promoting Innovation and Technology in Agriculture and Trade’ and will open its gates to the general public from November 2 to 6.

According to the program, there will be a pre-show day activity on Monday, October 31 which will be followed by a judging exercise of trade, livestock and farm produce exhibitions on November 1 before the show officially opens to the public on November 2.

The Cabinet secretary for Agriculture is expected to open the first day as President William Ruto will officially open it on November 3.

Friday will be governor’s day followed by Maritimes day on Saturday then end with the family day on Sunday.

Abdalla said that the show was also targeting Competency Based Curriculum pupils and the youth to encourage them to venture into smart and urban farming which she said was significant to ensure food security in the country.

(Edited by V. Graham)

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