Once in your life you may need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, and a preacher but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer.Brenda Schoepp
The farmers of Kenya are critical to the country’s food and nutrition security. About 70% of the population live and work in rural Kenya, where agriculture provides a livelihood to about 80%. Thus, investment in agriculture is vital to eradicating poverty and fostering food security globally.
Food security exists when all people have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
In Kenya, smallholder farmers are the primary producers of the nation’s food, and they work tirelessly in order to ensure the country’s food basket is full. However, in the recent past, climate change effects has drastically curtailed their ability to produce more to combat hunger and malnutrition.
While the government has adopted strategies to combat hunger and malnutrition, climate change continues to reverse the progress made through its effects in the general ecosystem food chains, with a social and economic impact on livelihoods and food security.
As a result, the majority of the rural population, whose livelihoods depend on the agriculture sector and natural resources, have lost their source of income because they have limited capacity to respond.
For this reason, the urgency to respond to the impact of climate change to safeguard the capacity of food systems to ensure food security sustainably should be top notch. From social protection to risk management and adaptive agricultural strategies, multiple actions are required to increase food security resilience among vulnerable groups.
Transitioning to a more sustainable agricultural system is also critical to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 on food security as it results in more socio-economic benefits and less impact on the environment. On the other hand, overuse of artificial fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides is a significant threat to the sustainability of Kenya’s agriculture.
Indeed, heavy use of artificial fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides may enhance crop yields in the short term, but it will eventually degrade soil quality over time. Therefore, embracing adaptive measures such as agro-ecology, which focuses on ecosystem-based approaches, can help improve the general well-being, combat climate change and protect the planet, consequently helping to reinvigorate agricultural production systems.
Implementing adaptive measures in water conservation, crop management, restoration of degraded forests, increasing the efficiency of scarce resource use, and implementing social protection programs are also vital to break the vicious cycle of hunger and poverty. Empowering women farmers and youth also play a significant role in bringing rural communities out of poverty, particularly in the face of economic turbulence, food insecurity, environmental degradation, and urbanization.
At KENAFF, we exist to support farmers at all levels to build capacities for climate-smart agriculture and lobby the national and sub-national governments to create a suitable environment for sustainable agri-food systems.
At KENAFF, we exist to support farmers at all levels to build capacities for climate-smart agriculture and lobby the national and sub-national governments to create a suitable environment for sustainable agri-food systems. Such a system is possible through a commensurate allocation of resources, commercialization of priority value chains from farm to fork, promoting climate-resilient agriculture, promoting access to credit insurance, and a structured market for all farmers.