Hunger reaction wanting

Date: 13 May 2017 13:01

Millions of households across the country are struggling to put food on the table as prices of essential commodities, particularly flour, have shot through the roof.

The government has responded with a number of panic prescriptions.

These include taxation measures being pushed through parliament and the emergency importation of maize.

This is entirely unacceptable because the government cannot claim to have been caught by surprise.

The warnings about the impending drought were issued clearly and early.

Representatives of the Tegemeo Institute of Policy and Research at Egerton University, for example, spoke out in November and warned that there would be a serious maize shortage due to the expected failure of the rains.


They even offered a clear suggestion – the importation of maize to arrive by February to cover shortfalls created by the drought in traditional source markets such as Uganda and Tanzania.

These early warnings went unheeded. This is a display of incompetence by the authorities.

The short-term emergency measures being taken will be cumbersome, costly and open to manipulation by opportunistic actors.

This episode must not be repeated. The government needs to put into place common sense measures that will spare the country the agony of man-made disasters such as those the country is experiencing.

The culture of panic reactions even when clear warnings have been sounded in advance should end.

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