Land and Agriculture: The key to food security
Land and agriculture are key to food security in our developing nation. However, FORD-Asili sadly notes that while Kenya is endowed with productive land, water and favourable weather, a climate capable of supporting all tropical agriculture, Kenya is still a net importer of food, 45 years after attaining independence. We continue to suffer devastating floods, long dry spells and ‘therefore, food shortages’. Ford-Asili would like to reverse this situation and ensure food security for all Kenyans. To achieve this goal, the Party will address the following areas that it believes are the main challenge to food security:
Access to land
Kenya lacks a clear land ownership and utilisation policy. Land ownership and access in Kenya is highly skewed with a few individuals owning large swaths of idle land. Land offers the first basic job opportunity and therefore any society that denies, or restricts access to land to only a few citizens, denies itself an indispensable basic necessity. Idle land should be made accessible to Kenyans willing to carry out subsistence and commercial agriculture. Multiple land laws, that are currently incoherent must be amalgamated and the policies and procedures be introduced to enable land ownership and fitting utilisation to assure national food security. National taxation system should be streamlined to include taxation on idle land. Absentee landowners roll be made public. Legal restrictions should also be put in place that prohibit use or further use of high potential arable land for sole purpose of developing residential quarters, schemes and estates.
Kenya’s farming technology is archaic, outdated and inefficient. Ford Asili will strive to promote the use of suitable modern technology for efficient food production. Incentives such as tax breaks and zero taxation on acquisition of land for food production, modern farming and technology will be encouraged and FORD-Asili will take the first opportunity to campaign for this incentive.
Storage and distribution of food
A lot of food produced in Kenya goes to waste due to post harvest losses and lack of efficient storage and distribution systems. Many Kenyans have suffered malnutrition and death because they had no physical access to food. The country has witnessed many devastating famines for simple reasons that available food in other parts of the country could not for some reason be transported to the affected area. FORD-Asili will promote modern food storage in every administrative areas while promoting barter exchanges between one area and another. Value addition in order to minimize post harvest losses should be done in the production areas so as to also minimise transport costs. We endavour to improve food distribution by providing local and international market information and transport and communication infrastructure.
Exportation and importation of food
Exportation and importation of food in Kenya is poorly regulated, actually personalised. Because of the personalised effects of both exportation and importation the country witnesses mass exportations from national food reserves and many times direct from farms and local stores that cause severe shortages even when bumper harvests have been realized. Importation of basic foods such as rice, sugar and maize at time floods the market in such volumes and low prices to the extent of fighting local products. Foodstuffs that already exist in the country are conveniently hidden in stores and those that can easily be grown in sufficient quantities are left to the departments concerned that do nothing whatsoever to promote their production. Luxury foods find their way in the country at the expense and in place of essential foodstuffs at times of emergency. This results in shortages caused by ‘fraud’ by public officers. FORD-Asili will ensure regulated food exportation and importation by enacting laws and developing policies that govern and assure maintenance of strategic food reserves. The objective will be, to ensure that every Kenyan has physical access to sufficient and affordable balanced food.