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Kenyans urged to vote in leaders who prioritize food security

Kenyans have been urged to elect leaders who will prioritize food and nutrition security.

The call was made at a meeting by the Global Hunger Index (GHI) and other stakeholders in Nairobi dubbed ‘Food on the Ballot’.

It sought to signal Kenyans to be on the lookout for the leader whose government will treat food and nutrition security as a top national agenda.

The meeting comes as Kenyans are reeling over the increase of food prices and that of other commodities.

The GHI that measures countries’ performance on four component indicators including undernourishment, child wasting, child stunting and child mortality.

Dr Martin Oulu, a Biodiversity and climate change mainstreaming expert, observed that the next government should come up with ideas to permanently solve hunger that currently affects more than 14.5 million Kenyans.

“Nine out of ten Kenyans worry about the safety of their food. Children are wasting away as others die because of hunger. The next government should be able to solve the puzzle and ensure that there is adequate food in the country,” he said.

The Right to Food manifesto also calls on the next government to increase budgetary allocation to agriculture from 3 to 10 percent.

On the other hand, Dr Elizabeth Kimani Murage, a senior research scientist, said there is a need for the government to develop a bill where everyone will have equal right to adequate food.

The government has been scaling up assistance to millions of people on the verge of famine in 23 counties hard hit by protracted drought.

The affected counties include Kwale, Lamu, Kilifi, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Turkana, Samburu, West Pokot, Baringo, Kajiado, Narok, Laikipia, Nyeri, Embu, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Makueni, Kitui, Marsabit, Isiolo, Wajir, Garissa and Mandera.

Despite various attempts by the government to assist the affected through distribution of basic staple foods like rice and beans and providing emergency monthly cash transfers, there is still a gap in the management of the crisis.