Kenya’s government has approved a move by President Uhuru Kenyatta that will see to it that unused state land is handed over to private companies. According to government, this forms part of its effort to boost food security and ensure the average Kenyan is able to afford the cost of living.
Private companies who will be entrusted with government land, are expected to utilise it for food and cash crop production.
The privatisation strategy comes on the back of numerous failed large-scale production projects and a hugely expensive shopping basket in the country which has inflated since the beginning of the year.
“Cabinet approved the policy on large-scale commercialisation of public land held for agricultural production. The policy seeks to provide a framework for utilisation of idle land owned by public institutions for large-scale commercial agricultural production,” a government statement read.
Growth numbers down
According to data, the country’s agricultural production grew at a negative 0.1% rate last year.
This is down from 5.2% in 2020, owing to low rains that affected crop and animal production. As a result, the cost of basic foods like maize and vegetables has reached new highs, pushing consumer inflation to 6.47% in April – up from 5.56% the month before.
Agriculture now accounts for 22.6% of Kenya’s GDP, down from one-third three years ago. In the last five months, the number of Kenyans experiencing starvation has increased by 33%, setting the groundwork for a major food catastrophe.
Climate change has also led to a lack of rain for the region, and this has impacted the country’s ability to supplement crops for the main harvest season, resulting in increased food insecurity.
This article was written by Lucinda Dordley and originally published on FoodForAfrika.com.
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