Our policymakers must have cringed last week when the announcement came, but the World Bank hit the nail on the head when it said that the famine gripping the Horn of Africa region was man-made.
According to the bank’s lead economist, the famine is as a result of artificially high prices for food and civil conflict in the region. He insisted that droughts have hit the region many times yet as a result of poor policymaking, the end result has always been famine. The current drought has affected millions of people in the region with Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti being the hardest hit.
The bank blamed high cereals prices for contributing to the problem and accused a small group in Kenya of controlling the market, thus keeping the prices beyond the reach of the majority.
The World Bank said that maize prices in Kenya were between 60 and 70 per cent higher than the world’s average.
This cartel-like behavior is unacceptable. How can a few reap millions of shillings as millions of Kenyans go without food?
What annoys many is that our government officials are still dillydallying, insisting that no one has starved to death yet what Kenyans see in the media tells a different story.
As a result of high food and energy prices around the world, the inflationary pressure has increased, exerted more pressure on millions around the globe, especially the developing world.
Already parts of Kenya are experiencing heavy rainfall, but despite years of being told to promote rain harvesting methods, the rain water is just being allowed to go to waste. In the flood-prone areas, the same song is being repeated. This only begs the question: when will our policymakers ever learn?
What is so hard about ensuring that food deficit regions receive adequate supplies from the bread basket regions of the country?
It really pains one to see farmers in one section of the country complaining that they there is no market for their produce yet in another part of the country scores of people are starving. It’s time the government walked the talk.