FOOD INSECURITY

EDITORIAL: Looming drought needs serious response

We are starring at potentially the worst drought since 1980-81

In Summary

• The specter of that dark and anxious past, of hunger and deprivation, looms large once again.

• We are in the grip of food-driven inflation that has been widely reported in the past three months. The outlook seems bleak.

WFP executive director David Beasley is welcomed by Wajir county commissioner Jacob Narengo when led a delegation to assess the drought mitigation preparedness in the county on Tuesday, August 24.
HUMANITARIAN AID: WFP executive director David Beasley is welcomed by Wajir county commissioner Jacob Narengo when led a delegation to assess the drought mitigation preparedness in the county on Tuesday, August 24.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

The country is spellbound by the presidential election petitions.

This can be excused in light of the immense interest the Uhuru Kenyatta succession has attracted at home and abroad.

But there is an alarming report, released by the World Meteorological Organisation, which predicts the hugely anticipated short rains (September –December) will likely fail.

That should send alarm bells ringing. Our lethargic bureaucracy must for once react with speed and save millions of poor and destitute from starvation.

We must accept that these are worrying times.

We are starring at potentially the worst drought since 1980-81, when President Daniel Moi sent out a begging bowl to the US and tonnes of yellow maize was shipped in to shore up whatever little white maize was available. Then, as now, prices are bound to shoot through the roof.

Its proof, sadly, that history teaches our pig-headed bureaucrats nothing. We have learnt nothing from the disasters of the past.

The specter of that dark and anxious past, of hunger and deprivation, looms large once again.

We are in the grip of food-driven inflation that has been widely reported in the past three months. The outlook seems bleak.

In the lead up to the general election, the President rolled out a hugely popular, but difficult to implement, maize meal subsidy and spent billions.

That initiative, though appropriate, is not sustainable. And no sooner had it been rolled out than it was suspended. The Treasury run out of cash.

Our food security chiefs must now move with speed and take the necessary policy and administrative action to ensure every family can afford the most basic of meals and plan ahead to avert a national catastrophe.

All the sweet-sounding promises dished out at every campaign stump will count for nothing, if in December and preceding dry first quarter of 2023 millions sleep hungry.

 

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