Effects of climate change continue to savage our agriculture due to seasonal shifts in weather and rainfall variability. Studies reveal that there will be a food crisis and as a result food insecurity in the country beyond 2025. This will affect Nairobi residents who depend on external food supplies since no farming can take place in Nairobi to feed a million plus residents in the Country's Capital. Actually 84% of Kenyan land is Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) while 16% only is arable and able to feed over 47.6million Kenyans this shows clearly that there is a crisis looming.
Counties like Uasin Gishu, Trans-Nzoia, Muranga and a few others are main the baskets that feed Nairobi, since local residents in the counties depend on the reduced produce as a result of climate change it is likely that there will be a stiff competition with the Nairobians. Majorly as a result of climate change, the following systems are likely to be affected:
- Land will no longer support farming of certain crops e.g. Maize and beans because of attacks from pests and diseases, soil erosion as a result of floods and droughts. Pests like the army worm and locust are already signs of threatened food security.
- Post-harvest stores. The little food harvested will be affected by diseases e.g. Aflatoxin due to increased precipitation.
- Fishing will be affected due to increased floods reducing accessibility of the lakes and rivers as well as increased water hyacinth in water bodies. Therefore fish supplies will be limited bearing in mind Kenya also exports fish like Nile perch to the UK.
- Food crops like bananas and sugarcane are reducing popularity in Nyanza and Western Kenya due to exploitation in the market and increased population.
- Transportation of food stuffs will be affected if mudslides or floods affect our road networks and critical bridges.
Many Nairobians can attest to such challenges from what we experienced a few months ago in the lockdown imposed to Nairobi, Kiambu and Kajiado blocking entry of food and people into Nairobi which are related to what will happen if the above come to pass. When you look at the latest IPCC report released early this month, increased precipitation, floods and droughts are expected in the region around East Africa this are enough signs to warn our government of impeding challenges. Here are simple steps of increasing adapting capacity of farmers and all residents, First, diversifying food crops e.g. Cassava. This food crop is able to grow in dry areas which make the largest percentage in Kenya and is a drought tolerant crop. Therefore if the country decides to produce the crop in large scale it will double efforts in scaling food security up and protecting the citizens against malnutrition. Cassava can be eaten raw (not all species), cooked while raw or dried and processed for cooking Ugali. Ideally this was a traditional meal in Africa and it is associated with a lot of health benefits.
Secondly, revive indigenous knowledge on food security. Indigenous knowledge includes agroforestry and or, use of honey in food storage, fruits and others. This will supplement industrial agriculture which seem to have a low adaptive capacity. Food security being amongst the governments Big 4 Agenda, it is therefore a critical factor that everyone is supposed to have a thought on. Therefore this opinion serves as an early advisory to all of us that cassava would be a savior in the near future.
What is your opinion, do you like cassava and can you shift your meals to cassava made or dependent supplementing with it with others? Let us know by your likes, comments and shares. Don't forget to follow my account. Thank you!
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