• Lack of rains in several parts of the country, especially the arid and semi-arid lands counties, has pushed many Kenyans to the jaws of hunger.
• Counties like Marsabit, Wajir, Moyale, Garissa, Turkana, Baringo, Samburu, Tana River and Isiolo have been worst hit by the drought.
The fight against hunger in the country is dangerously off the track, just eight years to the deadline when countries committed to end hunger.
At the heart of the 2030 Agenda was a promise to prioritise eradicating poverty and end hunger and malnutrition in all their forms.
However, too many people in the world today do not have access to sufficient, affordable, safe and healthy foods.
About three billion people in the world cannot afford a healthy diet.
Kenya, according to Global Hunger Index 2021 has a score of 23 and is ranked in position 87, putting the country among those whose hunger situation is serious.
The report was launched on Wednesday at Sarova Panafric Hotel, Nairobi.
It was peer-reviewed by Welt hunger Hilfe and Concern Worldwide.
ASALS Chief Administrative Secretary Abdul Bahari, head of nutrition at the MoH Veronica Kirogo, CEO Frontier Counties Development Council Guleid Mohamed, executive director Siasa Place Nerima Wako and a pastoralist from North-Horr Tumal Orto were present during the launch.
The global hunger index categorises and ranks countries on a 100 point scale.
Values of less than 10 reflect low hunger, 10 to 19 reflect moderate hunger, 20 to 34 indicate serious hunger, 35 to 49.9 are alarming while 50 or more are extremely alarming.
Kenya according to the report is ranked as countries whose hunger index is serious.
In 2000, Kenya had a score of 36.7, while in 2006, it scored 31.2.
In 2012, the country scored 25.4.
The report shows that the absolute change in the country since 2000 is -13.7 while the percentage change is -37.3.
“Africa's South of the Sahara and South Asia are the world regions with the highest hunger levels, with Global Hunger Index (GHI) scores of 27.1 and 26.1 respectively,” the report says.
The report shows that 4.8 per cent of children are wasted and is increasing.
The report also says at least 2.8 million Kenyans at Arid and Semi-arid countries have nothing to eat.
Lack of rains in several parts of the country, especially the arid and semi-arid lands, has pushed many Kenyans to the jaws of hunger.
Counties like Marsabit, Wajir, Moyale, Garissa, Turkana, Baringo, Samburu, Tana River and Isiolo have been worst hit by the drought.
On Monday, Public Service CS Margaret Kobia said some of the interventions the government has made include the release of Sh8.5 billion this month, towards vulnerable families through the Inua Jamii programme.
Last year, the state declared drought a national disaster.
The head of nutrition at the Health ministry says 26 per cent of malnutrition has been recorded.
Kirogo says a child born in Kenya today can only achieve 55 per cent of their maximum potential in terms of productivity.
"That is exactly what hunger has done to this country not just seeing the face of malnutrition but also reduced productivity and economic development," she said adding that Sh374 billion was being lost per year.
Kirogo says treating severely malnourished children is expensive as it cost Sh20,000 per child.
She says interventions to reverse the trend are being put in place.
Mohamed on his part says poor investment and neglect by successive governments especially in Asal areas was to blame.
The report says of major concern is the rising undernourishment rate which increased from 19.6 per cent in 2014-2016 to 21.8 per cent in 2018-2020.
The report says while available data suggest child stunting is still declining slowly in the region from 34.8 per cent, in 2015 to 32.4 in 2020, nearly one third of children are still stunted, or too short for their age, indicating chronic under-nutrition.
Climate change is also set to push an additional 78 million people globally into hunger by 2030.
The report says food security is under assault on multiple fronts that include worsening conflicts, weather extremes associated with global climate change and economic and health challenges associated with Covid-19 pandemic.
The long term effect of Covid-19 pandemic, it says, is that 30 million more people will be undernourished.
The report shows that the proportion of undernourished in the population was 32.2 per cent between 2000 and 2002 while between 2005 and 2007, the proportion was 26.1 per cent.
The proportion of undernourished in the population between 2011 and 2013 was 24.9 per cent while in 2018 and 2020, the proportion was 24.8 per cent.
The global hunger index is a tool for comprehensively measuring and tracking hunger at global, regional, and national levels over recent years and decades.
The scores are based on a formula that captures three dimensions of hunger-undernourishment, child under nutrition and child mortality using four indicators.
The indicators are undernourishment, child wasting, child stunting, and child mortality.
In 2021, data was assessed for 135 countries that met the criteria for inclusion in the global hunger index and the index was calculated for 116 of those countries based on data from 2016 to 2020.
The data used to calculate the global hunger index came from published UN sources such as FAO, WHO, UNICEF, Interagency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, the World Bank and Demographic Health Surveys.
Of the 135 countries assessed, 19 did not have sufficient data to allow for calculation of global hunger index 2021.
The report calls for enhancing resilient food systems to address the impacts of conflict and climate change as well as strengthening inclusive, locally-led initiatives.
The report also calls for flexible, need-based, cross-sectoral and multiyear planning and financing as well as changing the food systems.
(Edited by Bilha Makokha)