As parts of the country grapple with famine a new report has ranked Kenya as among the worst nations in feeding its citizens.
Published last week, the Global Hunger Index (GHI), a report from Welthungerhilfe, the International Food Policy Research Institute and Concern Worldwide, shows that Kenya has serious levels of hunger, even as malnutrition is declining around the world.
With a score of 21.9 in Global Hunger Index, Kenya is ranked among the top 50 countries failing to provide their people with enough food.
Kenya is ranked marginally ahead of conflict-prone Iraq which has a score of 22 and is outpaced by Egypt with a score of 13.7 which has in recent years been faced by conflict.
The level of hunger globally is still high despite the progress made since 2000, says the report.
It shows that hunger in developing countries has dropped by 29 per cent since the year 2000, but there are still at least 800 million people worldwide who do not have enough food.
“Ending global hunger is certainly possible, but it’s up to all of us that we set the priorities right to ensure that governments, the private sector and civil society devote the time and resources necessary to meet this important goal,” said Shenggen Fan, director-general of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), who calculated the scores.
The report shows that progress in the fight against hunger was unstable and uneven, with some regions improving at a faster rate than others.
It highlights that 20 countries, including Rwanda, Cambodia, and Myanmar, had a strong reduction in their hunger levels, in part due to stabilisation following conflicts.
However, 50 countries still had alarming hunger levels, with places such as the Central African Republic having shown scarce progress.
The IFPRI’s aim is to eradicate world hunger by 2030, an initiative that is being worked on by many NGOs across the globe.
“We have the technology, knowledge and resources to achieve that vision. What is missing is both the urgency and the political will to turn commitments into action,” says Dominic MacSorley, chief executive, Concern Worldwide , an NGO that works with the IFPRI.
The GHI looks at four parameters to calculate its figures: the proportion of the population that is undernourished, the number of children suffering from wasting (low weight for their age), the number of children suffering from stunting (low height for their age) as well as the mortality rate for children under five.
The report corroborates recent reports which show many Kenyans face starvation for lack of food. Drought in various parts of the country has left hundreds of thousands of people on the brink of starvation.
Locals in affected areas have called for the government to do more as residents have been forced to move to other counties in search of food.
About 1.3 million Kenyans are facing famine following inadequate rains this year, the government has said recently. “There is a water shortage and increased risk of malnutrition.
As a result, 1.3 million people in Asal (arid and semi-arid lands) counties are in need of relief food,” Devolution and National Planning Cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri told a press conference at the Treasury.