Contrary to the title of this post, I am not here to speak on my eating habits but the ever increasing food prices triggered by the global food crisis.
I am sure that I am not the only one who has witnessed the prices of basic commodities going through roof in the past few months.
And what’s amazing to me is that even after all the talk on the reasons and effects of this, nothing seems to be happening. And Kenya is no exception. However, there seems to be a ‘good’ reason — if not an excuse — for this.
For example, at the beginning of this year the price of bread, which was 20 Kenyan Shillings (Kshs) went up by almost 40 percent (Kshs 28), and this was attributed to the post election violence. Later on in March when things had come back to normal, the price still went up and this time the reason was, “there is a food shortage as a result of the post election violence.” In May the price of bread rose to Kshs 30, and this time the reason was, “lack of rain in wheat production areas.”
Come June the price rose to Kshs 32 and this time, “there’s a shortage of fertilizer in the country.” If that was not enough, the price jumped to Kshs 35 later in that same month, and by now everyone was complaining. The reason given was the ever increasing cost of fuel, and this my friends is the song of the moment, with the new price of bread at Kshs 40.
This is in fact a replica of what is happening with the other food commodities, which are referred to as basic commodities, and which I am sad to say are the “common man’s” means of survival.
If that’s not bad enough, a recent survey by an international agency (USAID) is warning of below-average agricultural production in the country. Ouch! And this is due to an estimated 25 percent reduction of cultivation area. The “fun” part is that all this is because of, you guessed it — the post election violence and high cost of farm inputs.
The report goes further to indicate that inadequate and poorly distributed rainfall in East Africa is to blame for the food crisis. Most areas in Kenya received less than 50 percent of expected rain during the March-May rainy season, which is supposed to be the long rain season.
On top of that there has been a scramble for water and pasture in most areas of Kenya, which has led to the deterioration in animals’ physique, earlier-than-normal migrations and reduced prices for the animals.
You can bet that the number of people without enough food will continue to rise, especially among the market-dependant populations in urban areas.
So what can we do? Sincerely, I don’t know, but I leave you all with these words from Luke 3:10-11 (NIV):
“What should we do then?” the crowd asked. John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.”