Kenya ranked among top hungriest states in Africa

Business Daily Kenya:  Nicholas Waitathu @PeopleDailyKe Kenya is among African countries with high serious hunger rates, an agricultural c...

Business Daily Kenya: 

Nicholas Waitathu @PeopleDailyKe

Kenya is among African countries with high serious hunger rates, an agricultural conference heard yesterday. Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development director Milton Ayieko said the country’s hunger rate stands at 29.1 per cent against global index of 18.2 per cent, thus referred to as one of the worst in Africa.

Data from the institute indicates that 55 countries globally are suffering from chronic hunger of below 20 per cent. “Most countries in Africa are in a chronic hunger situation.

This has been exacerbated by low crop productivity which currently stands at 20 per cent in most food crops,”Ayieko said during the closure of a two-day conference on “Transforming Agriculture for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Livelihoods” organised by Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development.

He said local maize farmers only produce 1.6 tonnes in a hectare compared to a potential production of six tonnes. He observed that due to lack of crucial information on good agricultural practices, farmers either underuse and overuse fertiliser and manure and are hardly carrying out soil tests to gauge fertility levels.

“You are likely to find a farmer applying only 2kgs of fertiliser in an acre and expect to harvest adequate produce. While other farmers apply more than 200kgs of fertiliser in an acre against the recommended rate of 100 kg,” he said.

This, he added, has contributed to high level of acidity and lack of organic matter in the soil which strengthen the topsoil’s ability to retain water. Kenya produces about 40 million bags of maize against a consumption of between 45 million and 50 million bags.

This, the country faced the worst food crisis following the prolonged drought and erratic rainfall late last year and early this year. Timothy Njagi, a senior research fellow at the institute blamed low planning in the local agriculture sector to lack of credible and consistent data. He said the sector is performing dismally as it grapples with low statistics input.

“Key hindrance to collecting of the needed data is failure by both levels of governments to offer extension services hence exposing farmers to more serious challenges, for instance, emergence of new pests and diseases and rise in temperature,” he said National and County governments, Njagi said have been relying on outdated data that does not respond to the current realities.

The post Kenya ranked among top hungriest states in Africa appeared first on Mediamax Network Limited.

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