- In September, the National Drought Management Authority reported that more than four million Kenyans are facing starvation and that the number could increase to 4.35 million people by the end of October.
- In 2021, 828 million people were facing hunger and 3.1 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet.
Experts have called for renewed support to help farming communities in East Africa cope with the extreme drought.
Farm Africa, an international charity organisation said farmers in the Horn of Africa are facing extreme drought after four failed rainy seasons.
“They are at risk of losing everything,” Mary Nyale, the Kenya programmes manager at Farm Africa said.
Nyale called for like-minded individuals and organisations to stand with the farming communities to survive this crisis.
She spoke on Tuesday during a networking event in Nairobi by Farm Africa, to lobby for support to help farmers reduce vulnerability to drought.
The event which brought together over 50 representatives from different organisations and private sector foundations was held to mark World Food Day.
Nyale said they are supporting farmers to improve incomes while enabling businesses to endure drought.
“We do this through interventions such as equipping farmers with regenerative agriculture skills. This is meant to improve soil health and boost yields, market linkages to high-value export markets, and business development services provision to help enterprises navigate famine,” she said.
“Yet much of the country is classified as arid or semi-arid. The increased frequency of drought and competition over scarce water resources, coupled with the outbreak of animal disease, has left pastoralists especially vulnerable to hunger.”
Nyale said over half of Kenyans depend on the crops they grow and the animals they keep for their livelihoods and survival.
In September, the National Drought Management Authority reported that more than four million Kenyans are facing starvation and that the number could increase to 4.35 million people by the end of October.
Nyale said they are promoting regenerative agriculture practices through funding from Ikea Foundation in partnership with AGRA.
She said they are helping farmers in the semi-arid regions of Embu and Tharaka Nithi, to improve soil health to boost agricultural yields.
“This is through cover cropping, mulching, minimum tillage, use of farmyard manure, agroforestry, micro-dosing, intercropping and use of bio fertilisers,” she said.
“After the adoption of the practices, a 20 per cent increase in harvest was recorded among 10,000 farmers taking part in the initiative in 2021, thus helping them escape total crop failure following reduced rainfall.”
Sammy, a farmer in Embu, who participated in Farm Africa’s regenerative agriculture project said the productivity of his crops has improved since the training sessions.
“My coffee yields are high despite the drought, thanks to mulching, which retains water. My income increased, I have constructed a house and will be able to educate my children,” he said.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, millions of people across Eastern Africa are facing a severe hunger crisis.
“In the face of a looming global food crisis, we need to harness the power of solidarity and collective momentum to build a better future where everyone has regular access to enough nutritious food,” FAO director-general QU Dongyu said during the World Food Day.
FAO’s latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report indicated that on top of the 970 000 people at risk of famine in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, the number of people facing hunger worldwide is on the rise.
In 2021, 828 million people were facing hunger and 3.1 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet.
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres urged stakeholders to act together to move from despair to hope and action.
Edited by Kiilu Damaris