Food Security as a Foundation for Economic Growth
I wish to draw the attention of our leaders to a five-member family budget whose breadwinner is earning ksh. 300 as the daily wage. The total cash required by such a family to survive on basic needs alone is ksh. 566 per day. The deficit per day is ksh. 267 and at the end of the month, the family would have a deficit balance of ksh. 8000.
Let’s face it, this kind of a scenario calls for serious thinking and a change of the entire country’s economic strategy.
We collectively need to reflect and retrace our steps back to where the rain started beating us.
We are a country which is struggling to feign a false development built on quick sand which is just too susceptible to wind leave alone floods.
There is no meaningful development that can be achieved in a country where more than 50% of the citizens are still living below the basic needs’ fulfillment level.
If one wants to eradicate for example couch grass in a field, he or she must be prepared to dig out all the rhizomes or use a systemic herbicide. Slashing couch grass or spraying a contact herbicide may clear the grass temporarily only for it to sprout with more vigor just after a short while.
To succeed, we must;
- Define our problems and list them in the priority order
- After identifying and listing, we need to come up with a list of methods or tools that would effectively address the problem.
- We select the best tools for each problem and draw up an action plan.
- We go to work and implement each step as meticulous as possible.
Let’s define our problems;
If we would tackle the food problem, our medical bills would drastically come down and we may even release enough money and manage to put up decent shelters.
From the home budget it’s evident that more than 80% of the family income is spent on food. Let’s assume that we are now 50 million and each household has an average of 5 members. This gives us 10 million households. If we make food affordable and available to each household such that they are able to release ksh 4000 per homestead which is currently being spent on food and instead use this cash in purchasing other items , the total amount set free would be a total of ksh 40 billion per month which is equal to 480 Billion in a year.
Let’s us focus on how to make a household access affordable and sufficient food which would as a result raise the purchasing power per household by releasing part of the money which is currently being spent on buying food that is expensive and insufficient. This in my opinion is the only practical formula for developing a country i.e. by focusing on the smallest (atom) particle of the country’s economy which is the household. Engaging in some of the projects that are being undertaken currently when citizens can’t access affordable and sufficient food is like giving cake to a people crying for bread. Let’s think of how we can produce food cheaply. How do we increase productivity per unit are?
How do we move from 100% rain dependent agriculture to 50% irrigated by harnessing the flood flow? For how long will we keep on looking up at the clouds for the rains which is becoming erratic day by day? How do we increase our forest cover to 25%? We can solve these questions if we make them our definite aim.
My advice to president Uhuru is this. Mr. President Sir, forget the Big 4 agenda, narrow down to 1 which is food security. Please realize that the government can’t farm because even though it has land, it lacks the capacity to farm. Please don’t attempt to grow food for us like the way you tried in Galana Kulalu, you will fail because there are no farmers in your government. Wakulima ni sisi ambao tuko tayari kuvaaa gumboots .
Just provide us with enablers and we shall do the farming ourselves.
Kindly do the following;
- Remove duty and taxes on all agricultural inputs in order to make them affordable and accessible to all the farmers. This will enable the farmers to use the input optimally which as a result will increase productivity per unit area of land put under food production.
- Maximize harvesting of flood flows by building dams in succession on all major rivers from the source to where it’s practically possible and viable.
- Let’s have a 10 impact points on how to grow each crop successfully and set production targets for each crop per region. Let’s have this information broadcasted through televisions and radios every morning, lunch and supper times until it sticks into people’s minds.
- Let the government build enough storage/silos facilities which can store 3 years food stock. Let’s learn from Ants on how to store food.
Egypt is what it is today because the late president Gamal Abdel Nasser decided to build the Aswan high dam which met the entire Egypt’s electricity and irrigation needs. He made history and he will be remembered for generations. Kindly stop telling us about corruption, because you once told us, and we believed you that you are powerless as far as fighting corruption is concerned because the agencies which are vested in fighting it by the constitution are independent. This is a fact, and even if you shout at the roof top, corruption would only slow down for a moment and gain momentum once you leave the office. Surely, would this be a legacy? Corruption runs in Kenyans blood system. Just ask the one who is not corrupt to throw a stone and you will be shocked. Fighting corruption is a process. What you are currently engaging in is like slashing or spraying gramoxon to couch grass which will actually emerge with a much greater vigor later. To address corruption effectively, kindly request your education CS prof Magoha to introduce integrity as a subject to be taught right from kindergarten to the university so that this virtue could be inculcated in learners mind. To remove darkness in a room, you don’t fight darkness, you introduce light. To fight corruption, which is a dark spot in the mind, you introduce integrity, but you can’t remove it and leave a vacuum!
If you succeed in making this country food secure by implementing the tips which I have offered to you for free, I can guarantee you that you will go home a very happy retired president with a wonderful legacy. Kindly, Stop wasting your precious sleep by building castles in the air on how to provide us with affordable houses. We are used to sleeping in hovels and we can continue doing so provided our stomachs are full.