Thursday, March 24, 2011

Amid hunger concerns in drought-plagued Kenya, development agency urges support to food security efforts via the International Fund for Agricultural Development: With nearly 2.4 million poor people in Kenya’s rural communities struggling to get enough to eat, Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), arrives in Nairobi on 26 March to offer his agency’s support. Nwanze’s visit follows the release earlier this month of a report by the Kenyan government and international partners pointing to a rapid decline in food security among some agricultural households.

The number of people needing food and other assistance spiked by 50 per cent in just six months, according to the study by the Kenya Food Security Steering Group. The number of hungry people jumped from 1.6 million in August 2010 to 2.4 million in February 2011. The cause was the recent drought in the northern and northeastern pastoral areas and the southeastern and coastal lowlands.

Their plight highlights the urgency of boosting the incomes of smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs and better equipping them to manage risks. This will enable them to both feed their families and contribute to economic growth and food security in Kenya.

Changing agricultural markets are opening new opportunities for business success in rural areas, IFAD has noted. It calls for more investment to help rural people deal with food price volatility, risks posed by severe weather (such as the drought faced by so many Kenyans today), long-term uncertainties due to climate change and various natural resource constraints….

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