No one is new to this word, ‘poverty.’ It could be described in many ways but it doesn’t necessarily mean lack of money. Many people think that for one not to be poor, their bank accounts should be loaded with probably millions of dollars. I would describe poverty as the state of having insufficient basic needs. The majority of people in Kenya are living in extremely poor conditions due to unemployment. It is surprising how Kenya, which is the biggest economy in east and central Africa still struggles with poverty. Despite the government’s efforts to eradicate poverty, the number has just reduced by a small margin and the goal to eradicate poverty by the year 2030 seems only to be a dream.
The World Bank reports that 14.6 million people in Kenya are living on less than $3 a day. Most of these people are in rural areas and urban areas with limited resources. The big question is, who should intervene? It’s simple. While the government provides resources and funds, it should be everyone’s responsibility to act.
Another report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation stated that the dynamics of poverty within Kenya are changing and directly influence the country’s agricultural sector. Currently, 46 percent of the population lives on less than 1 USD a day, 36.5 percent are food insecure and 35 percent of children under five are stunted (chronically malnourished) in Kenya. The country’s population has increased significantly (growing from 11 million in 1970 to 39.5 million in 2011) and at the current rate of growth, it will be double in the next 27 years, reaching 81 million in 2039. As a result of this rapid increase, land parcels in the areas of high agricultural potential are decreasing in size, affecting food production.
These statistics leave us with no option but to only think of ways to secure the agricultural sector. As a solution to this problem, more agricultural farms should be established at least in every county in the country. We have large pieces of bare land that the government can invest in. This would be one of the actions towards food security and also spearheading economic activities. These farms would also be a source of employment for many in rural areas. The report further states that the sector accounts for 65 percent of the export earnings, and provides the livelihood; employment, income and food security needs, for more than 80 percent of the Kenyan population. So, the possibility of the export earnings increasing would also be higher if this solution is taken into account.
It would also be crucial for the private sector to be considered and provided with the necessary resources. Would the young farmers with agricultural skills lack the market for their products or even support their enterprises? I think the biggest problem that is yet to be addressed in the private sector is the lack of support and ways to manage disasters like drought and pest infestation.