The drought season is a cycle that we have been experiencing year in year out and, therefore, not a problem that popped up just this year. It has been a recurrent experience which at times, feels as if it’s normal. Although right now most areas are experiencing short rains, drought remains one of the greatest problems in the country.
The number of citizens facing hunger and suffering the effects of drought has gradually increased over the years, with over four million Kenyans facing hunger this year. Declaring drought as a national disaster and even holding fund-raisers to support those in hunger-stricken areas is not a solution.
We need a solution to this unending cycle. Our continued reliance on rain-fed agriculture and livestock off-take programs have proved futile in the fight against drought and famine. The major stalled projects, such as the Galana Kulalu and the major dam construction projects, which have failed to kick off due to corruption, would have a more significant impact in fighting this problem.
The new administration should focus on winning the war against drought and famine and have a lasting solution. Lack of food and water is the most dehumanising thing that any individual can go through. What good is infrastructure, technological advancement, housing, and new license plates, among other important projects, if we are unable to feed our people?
At the end of this administration, we will use food security and the fight against drought and hunger as a measure for the success of this government. If this government wins the fight against drought and famine, it will have succeeded.
Now that the rains are here, we need to have strategic plans to harness and harvest water and have better use for the surface run-off. It all goes down to laying a strategic plan to conserve water and catchment areas.
Besides, we have food management issues in this nation where other people are suffering and dying of hunger while others have a bumper harvest and food is rotting in their stores and farms. It is quite unfortunate for us that our systems are failing in hunger and drought management. Until we put in place projects such that the government can buy the surplus from farmers and supply when drought arises, we will keep reading from this script for eternity.
David Kinyanjui, Nairobi
Thousands of lives are at risk from climate-related livestock losses due to the ongoing drought. The country needs to increase market opportunities for small-scale livestock farmers by investing in things like affordable animal health services and food safety resources. We should not ignore the many sustainable approaches to raising livestock.
Brian Mwenda , Migori