World Food Day 2018: Kenyans demonstrate, demand Healthy Food
Kenyan Consumers and small-scale farmers have on Tuesday handed over a petition to Parliament and the Ministry of Agriculture calling for an overhaul of the country’s food system. The petition, signed by over 1000 farmers and consumers demands healthy food for all Kenyans.
The crowds marched from Uhuru Park to Parliament and then to the Ministry of Agriculture to express their discontent over the recent food-related scandals in Kenya as the world commemorates World Food Day under the theme a #zerohunger world by 2030 is possible.
“Kenya’s food system is broken and food safety has become a major concern. I no longer trust what I eat. The system is controlled by a few rich people and large corporations from industrialized countries. The industrial, chemical-intensive agriculture system is deeply unfair, and unsustainable. The government must reverse this situation to restore citizen’s control over food production and consumption”, said Samuel Omesa, a concerned consumer.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 10 million people in Kenya suffer from chronic food insecurity. This number is projected to increase if urgent measures are not put in place. Zero hunger means working together to ensure everyone, everywhere has access to safe, healthy and nutritious food. This can only be achieved when we adopt a more sustainable farming and food system that put farmers and consumers at the forefront.
“I am passionate about food; it is a basic necessity essential to human health and wellbeing, but I am losing control over it. The industrial agriculture corporations are making huge profits at the expense of small-scale farmers. Chemically-free food is not readily available in supermarkets, food stores and local markets. As a result, consumers cannot benefit from healthy organic produce and I am not able to feed my family and have a livelihood,” said Samuel Wathome a farmer from Machakos County.
“The ministry of Agriculture must create opportunities for the adoption of ecological agriculture at scale – this is a model of agriculture that protect people and their environment. This will enable my community and I to feed our families and contribute to the breadbasket of the nation,” continued Wathome.
The past few months have seen an immense violation of Kenya’s right to food. From mercury laced sugar, expired rice, sub-standard cooking oil to aflatoxin infected maize and calcium carbide ripen fruits. Food safety and quality control are issues of national importance that require swift intervention. Our current agriculture system depend on the use of vast amounts of chemicals, as well as fossil fuels. This predominant model prevents Kenyans from exercising the ability to define agricultural and food policies in line with sustainable development and food security objectives.
“We are here today to support consumers and small scale farmers as they call on the government of Kenya to ensure that safe and healthy food is produced within Kenya’s food system. This can be achieved by having the right policies in place and shifting investments in agriculture away from industrial agriculture to up scaling ecological farming’ said Greenpeace Africa’s Senior Food For Life Campaign Manager, Renee Olende.
“We call upon the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and irrigation to support local farmers who practice ecological farming thus ensuring access to healthy, indigenous, chemical- free food to consumers. It is the government’s responsibility to safeguard food sovereignty, ” concluded Olende.