Experts are now calling for new ways of food production to stem the growing wave of food-insecure people in the country.
This is in the face of increasingly erratic climate patterns and depleted soil nutrients.
Statistics show 14.5 million Kenyans are food-insecure, while the number of acutely food-insecure people in need of emergency food assistance has also increased throughout 2019 from an estimated 1.1 million in February to 1.6 million in May and 2.6 million by July.
“With the situation continuing to present major challenges to Kenyans, we need to re-think how we approach food and farming in the country,” said Route to Food Initiative (RTFI) Executive Director and the Programme Coordinator of the Biovision Farmer Communication Programme David Amudavi.
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Dr Amudavi made the remarks during a recent virtual media workshop on climate change, declining biodiversity and poor soil quality.
“Agroecology has established itself in the scientific and political debate as a way to ensure food security, maintain healthy ecosystems and support livelihoods. The practice builds on key elements that promote and ensure healthy nutritious food for all.”
He said agroecological principles and practices should be applied so as to strengthen farmers’ resilience and enhance food production.
Amudavi further explained that agroecology is a consciousness that humans are part of a life support system with nature and that their life depends on this system.
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“Since agroecology is a scientific discipline, a farming practice and a social movement, it can build on farmers’ and consumers’ knowledge in establishing sustainable agricultural development. What is needed is appropriate enabling anchoring policy, investment plans and programmes,” said Amudavi.
Layla Liebetrau, project lead of the Route to Food Initiative, an alliance of men and women working towards the realisation of the human right to food in Kenya explained that there is now a growing concern to embrace forms of food production that are local-specific, affordable, sustainable and safe to our health and that of the environment.
“There is growing evidence of success in using agroecology as a holistic approach to farming. Currently, projects in the country following this approach have proven to increase farm productivity,” she added.
Caritas Meru Director Morris Kirimi emphasised the need for formulating policy frameworks that mainstream agroecology.
“Policy advocacy for agroecology works effectively when it comprises collaborations between farmers, the national and county governments and the public,” he said.
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