Nairobi, 16 October, 2017: As Kenya celebrates the World Food Day (WFD) today, youths from eight Kenyan universities have converged, at the Louis Leaky Auditorium- Nairobi National Museum, to debate on issues that the Government of Kenya needs to address in order to safe-guard Kenyans food security and protect consumers from the threats of a broken food system.

With the expansion of mega-mergers in the global food system, 60% of the world’s seeds will be controlled by three companies. Greenpeace Africa will be supporting the youth in advocating and lobbying for improved policy to ensure smallholder farmers who constitute 30% of Kenya’s farming population, not corporations, control the food chain and determine how food is produced.

“The Kenya we want today and for tomorrow is one where we have informed consumption of our food. Food must not be viewed as a commodity for commercial exchange, but rather one that is a necessity in our lives. We demand a food system where all farmers and consumers benefit from the diversity of food grown sustainably,” said Phoebe Mwangi, a student from the Technical University of Kenya participating in the debate.

Sustainably grown food is guaranteed through ecological farming, a farming practice which combines indigenous knowledge, modern science and innovation with respect for nature and biodiversity. It ensures healthy farming and healthy food. It protects the soil, water and the climate. It does not contaminate the environment with chemical inputs or use genetically engineered organisms. It places people and farmers – consumers and producers, not corporations who control our food now – at its very heart. 

“Kenya is grappling with the effects of climate change and the pressure to feed its people. The solution is for the government to support and enable a food sovereignty system that calls for a shift from Industrial agriculture to ecological farming”, said Greenpeace Africa’s Senior Food for Life Campaigner, Renee Olende. In 2016, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimated that 233 million people in sub-Saharan Africa go to sleep hungry.

By 2050, climate change and erratic weather patterns will have pushed another 24 million children into hunger. Almost half of these children would be in sub-Saharan Africa. “The way forward is building mitigation measures in response to climate change and establishing sustainable ways of farming that ensure food security not only for Kenyans but for Africa. 

The government must, therefore, act quickly to ensure that these patterns are averted and reversed,” continued Olende. Kenya’s youth and Greenpeace Africa call on Kenya’s government to support ecological farming by providing indigenous seed to farmers, water for irrigation, training on modern and sustainable farming practices, refocus extension services and credit programmes and putting in place policies that are aligned to ecological farming practices. 

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Notes to the Editor