As the world marked ‘World food day’, consumers and small scale farmers in Kenya staged protests in the capital city, Nairobi to demand the government to check its food systems.
The more than 1000 protestors marched to Parliament buildings and the Ministry of Agriculture headquarters to express their discontent over the recent food related scandals.
“Kenya’s food system is broken and food safety has become a major concern. I no longer trust what I eat. The system is controlled by a few rich people and large corporations from industrialized countries. The industrial, chemical-intensive agriculture system is deeply unfair, and unsustainable. The government must reverse this situation to restore citizen’s control over food production and consumption”, said Samuel Omesa, a concerned consumer.
The past few months have seen an immense violation of Kenya’s right to food. From mercury laced sugar, expired rice, sub-standard cooking oil to aflatoxin infected maize and calcium carbide ripen fruits.
Greenpeace Africa, an environmental organisation that works with smallholder farmers in Kenya to promote ecological agriculture believes the model is best suited to repair the broken food system by enhancing food security, ensuring food sovereignty and health food for communities while protecting the soil, water, biodiversity and climate.
“We are here today to support consumers and small scale farmers as they call on the government of Kenya to ensure that safe and healthy food is produced within Kenya’s food system. This can be achieved by having the right policies in place and shifting investments in agriculture away from industrial agriculture to up scaling ecological farming,” said Greenpeace Africa’s Senior Food for Life Campaign Manager, Renee Olende.
A farmer from Machakos County, Samuel Wathome said chemically-free food is not readily available and urged the Ministry of Agriculture to create opportunities for the adoption of ecological agriculture.
Kenyan government has integrated food and nutrition security as one of the “Big Four” commitments. The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation has drafted a strategic review dubbed “Towards Zero Hunger Strategic Review” to help it asses the national position of identifying the challenges and priorities for the achievement of food security and improved nutrition.
According to the review, realization of potential advances in agriculture are being partly inhibited by limited implementation of regulatory and policy frameworks.
It recommends improvement in community engagement and decision-making in agriculture, nutrition and food production by providing means of community feedback as well as strengthen community food and nutrition education that promote greater diversification of diets and healthy diets and lifestyles.