BY GATONYE GATHURA
Since the last national census in 2009 the country’s population is estimated to have increased by almost four million to stand at about 44 million, while the production of all major foods has either stagnated or declined.
According to the Global Agricultural Information Network, Kenya will continue to import all the five major food components which include maize, wheat, rice, beans and even potatoes.
The network projects that unless something very dramatic happens to increase food production several fold, the country’s food deficit will continue to grow because of population growth.
The population growth at about one million new citizens every year has affected food security in two ways; the extra mouths to feed means that the land earmarked for agricultural production declines.
The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute estimates that over 10 million people are food insecure with majority of them living on food relief.
This is the staple food in Kenya, consumed in various forms by 96 per cent of the population.
In the 1970s Kenya was self-sufficient in maize production, even exporting the surplus.
Kenya is generally said to be self-sufficient in most livestock products but is a net importer of red meat mostly in the form of animals trekked across the porous boundaries of the neighbouring countries of Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.
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