Reasons Behind Soaring Food Prices and Food Scarcity in Kenya

An assessment of the contributing factors to the increase in food scarcity and food prices in Kenya and how that effects orphans, vulnerable children and the Kenyan population as a whole by Hands with Hope Founder, Fred Afwai.

August 12, 2011

Hands with Hope safe house caters to 30 children. With the rising cost of living blamed for the rising cost of energy, this scenario portends a challenging future for these children and all of us as their custodians and guardians. The causes of the current situation are wide and varied but my personal assessment can attribute it to the following:

  • The violent protests following the disputed 2007 elections in Kenya led to the internal displacement of farming communities. To date, most of them remain in camps and in some way this has stalled grain production, leading to high demand and grain prices hitting the roof.
  • Most counties have shifted their priorities to fixing the effects of the global recession. Humanitarian organizations, philanthropists and corporations have scaled down their activities as a result. The depreciating value of major world currencies has deepened the crisis. It can’t get worse than this.
  • Drought and famine are on the rise courtesy of global warming and the attendant effects of human activity on the environment. With the population of Kenya having hit the 40 million mark, and statistics showing that up to 10 million are facing death due to famine, this means 1 in every 4 of the country’s citizens are in a dire situation.
  • Corruption in government and complicity of those who wield power has created cartels in the agricultural, energy and finance sectors. The squabbling on issues of power and protocol has relegated the citizens’ problems to the periphery. Who can explain the fact that the government lacks the machinery and ability to move food to deficit areas?
  • Farmers need fertilizer and seed during planting. This year witnessed a lackluster approach by the government in the procurement and distribution of these vital inputs with only 20% of the farmers catered for leaving a majority at the mercy of fate. In some cases wrong quality seed was delivered in some areas and the fertilizer procurement didn’t fair any better. This portends a serious famine situation for the country this year

In view of the above there is an urgent need to improve Hands with Hope’s  sustainability in the present and long-term so as to reduce the vulnerability of the children under our care.

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