Lobby calls for harmonised food policy in Africa

Kenya has a National Food Nutrition Security Policy that was enacted in 2011.

In Summary

• The National Food Nutrition Security Policy was enacted in 2011. 

• The policy seeks to address food availability, safety, nutrition, early warning and emergency management, and financing issues. 

A display of tomatoes at Kangemi Market
A display of tomatoes at Kangemi Market

Kenya is among 23 African countries pushing for a food policy that will help reduce importation and boost food security and nutrition.

Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga said Kenya has a National Food Nutrition Security Policy that was enacted in 2011 to help address issues of food availability, safety, improve nutrition, early warning and emergency management, and financing among others.

Boga said it is the policy of the government that all Kenyans enjoy safe food in sufficient quantity and quality to satisfy their nutritional needs for optimal health.

“The policy seeks to add value and create synergy to existing sectoral and other initiatives of Government and partners. We are part of the AU and we are working with other value chains to actualize the idea,” said Boga, adding that this will soon be replaced by the Agriculture policy.

Civil society groups under the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) have urged the African Union to develop an Africa Food Policy.

The group said this will guarantee the urgent and pressing need for Africa to feed itself within the current context of global volatility, multi-layered crises, and chaotic climate change with its disastrous consequences.

Chris Macoloo, AFSA Board chairman, said the board is deeply concerned with the inextricable connections between climate change, land degradation, deforestation and industrial agriculture.

He added that these drive social and political instability and food insecurity on the continent, which further aggravate the systemic, existential crises faced globally.  

Macoloo said the connections between armed conflict in Africa and acute food insecurity, adding that the number of African people experiencing acute food insecurity doubled since 2018.

“12 out of 15 African countries facing the greatest food insecurity crisis are also presently the hotspots of armed conflicts that remain the primary drivers of acute food insecurity on the continent,” he said.

He added that agroecological and indigenous approaches are critical in sustaining food sovereignty and livelihoods of the largely rural and disadvantaged urban populations.

“Africa is currently importing foods that can be grown locally at exorbitant costs. This is because the existing food policy is not sensitive to the needs of the small-scale producers who are the ones feeding Africa,” said Macoloo.

The 2021 Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data shows that the country’s annual import bill stands at Sh300 billion.

“Our production levels are down, hence an increase in food importation. The industrialised food production is not resilient to the effects of climate change, and it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions which result in global warming, hence reducing productivity,” he said.

“The new home grown policy seeks to promote farming systems that heal the earth and revitalises soil health. This will increase food production and reduce importation,” Macoloo said.


Edited by CM