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Pandemic: now more than half Kenya is starving

Increased prices let population undernourished

08-06-2021 by redazione

Since the start of the pandemic in Kenya, more than half of the population of Kenyans, or 58 percent of the 53 million citizens, no longer have access to adequate daily quantities and quality of food.
This is highlighted in a report on the food situation during the Covid-19 pandemic compiled by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics sheds light on how before the pandemic the diet of Kenyans was based on generally available products and others that were affordable to a large part of the population, while in this year and a half of emrergency this subsistence food situation has been seriously compromised.
The report that KNBS recently published online, reveals that the worst situation occurred between the first and second waves of coronavirus, between mid and late 2020.
Among the thousands of people interviewed and sampled, it was noted that accessibility to markets, changes in food prices, and overall food insecurity in the country created increasing hardship.
"Although food remained generally available in most parts of the country, the analysis of the experience of food insecurity revealed that at least 58% of Kenyans consumed inadequate quantities compared to what they would normally consume, compromising the quality of their diet," the report reads. In detail we can see how the prices of maize flour and rice have increased by an average of 18 and 16% respectively, and certain regions such as Turkana, for example, have been left without supplies.
Prices have risen exponentially, especially on the coast: in Mombasa and Kwale, tomatoes and onions have jumped 55%. In absolute terms, Kilifi County is the one that has recorded the highest increase in vegetable prices, 38%.
The report shows that the average price of tomatoes and onions increased in Mombasa and Kwale counties by 55% respectively. Kilifi County recorded the highest increase in the cost of vegetables, at 38 percent, the report says.
The average price of maize meal increased in Nandi, Bungoma and Elgeyo Marakwet by 33, 32 and 30 percent respectively.
Mandera and Kwale County overall are negative leaders, ranging from 86 to 98 percent higher in 2019.
In Kilifi County, 1 in 4 households had difficulty accessing food markets.
"A number of Counties have entered a phase of high food insecurity," the report explains, "more efforts are now required to alleviate hunger and its nutritional effects.
This is most apparent in childhood and children, as well as the elderly. But the inadequacy and scarcity of food leads to the consumption of low-quality products and also creates other health problems.

In the first months of 2021, food availability has returned to decent levels, but a large part of the population is no longer in a position to afford such high costs of the main sources of sustenance, such as cornmeal for polenta, rice, tomatoes and other vegetables.

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