August 9

Kenyan farmers develop manifesto ahead of August polls

Monday, July 4th, 2022 12:49 | By
Farmers Conference Centre, the building that houses KENAFF
Farmers Conference Centre, the building that houses KENAFF. PHOTO/Francis Muli

The Kenya National Farmers’ Federation (KENAFF) has developed a manifesto ahead of the August 9 polls, that it will share with political parties and alliances angling for the presidency.

The manifesto contains views and demands of KENAFF members and the farmers of Kenya on measures required to boost the country’s agricultural performance as a driver of both the national economy and for raising incomes among agricultural value chain players.

Farmers' voice

Speaking during a farmers' forum held over the weekend to develop the manifesto, officials expressed concern over the neglect of the agriculture sector in the country, which has greatly affected the national food basket.

"We are here because we feed the nation. We need not only to develop the farmers' voice, but to also amplify it," said KENAFF national chairman Prof Kaburu M’Ribu.

Speaking during the same event, Kelvin Shingles, Welthungerhilfe (WHH) Country Director in Kenya, revealed that Kenya has is able to produce enough food for its people, but this has remained a dream 58 years since independence.

WHH, one of Germany's biggest private organizations for development and humanitarian aid, has partnered with KENAFF to increase advocacy in improved food production in Kenya in Kenya.

"As the umbrella organization for farmers, KENAFF was selected as a partner because of their substantial political influence and as they will act as a critical actor implementing advocacy-related activities. By engaging farmer associations, the project further ensures a close relationship and participation of target groups as well as sustainability of the results," he said.

WHH revealed that Kenya loses at least 30 percent of its food in the farms, which is slowing or stalling the fight against hunger. He says that at least 14.5 million Kenyans are facing food insecurity in Kenya.

The country has been recording soaring food prices in the recent past, with maize flour prices increasing significantly in the last month, rising by 38 percent for some brands.

Politicians' importance in food security

Shingles says that to address food security in the country, politicians have to be involved 100 percent, since they oversee policy development once they get into office.

"Addressing hunger ultimately requires political solutions. We need to Encourage the fulfilment of state obligation on the right to food," Shingles said.

Kelvin Shingles, Welthungerhilfe (WHH) Country Director in Kenya, speaks during the farmers' forum in Thogoto on Friday, July 1, 2022.
Kelvin Shingles, Welthungerhilfe (WHH) Country Director in Kenya, speaks during the farmers' forum in Thogoto on Friday, July 1, 2022. PHOTO/Courtesy

It is projected that at the end of August 2022, a surplus of about 13.8 million bags of maize will be recorded based on estimated 6 million bags imports by the private sector.

KENAFF is also fighting to regain a seat in the board of the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), to boost health insurance policy for farmers. The body estimates that at least 90 percent of smallholder farmers in the country have no health insurance policy.

Present in the forum included Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Alliance officials, Kenya Kwanza alliance officials and Roots Party officials.

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