2019 had been a pretty eventful year in terms of extreme weather. We saw heavy rains that caused a lot of flooding leading to homes being displaced, some people dying due to being swept by the violent water. There were waterborne diseases caused by stagnant water after the heavy rains. On the extreme end, we had droughts. Leaving so many parts of Kenya affected, especially the semi-arid areas like Baringo and Lake Turkana.
As the Sustainable Development Goal on Zero hunger by 2030 sets to make sure that every human has access to basic food, the extreme weather changes have made it a difficult goal to fast track. With extreme weather conditions, it is difficult to predict the weather patterns as it had always been in the earlier years.
Growing up I remember we knew all the seasons in the order that they came. We knew the time for breaking soil/tilling the land, the time for planting the seedlings, the time for weeding, harvesting time, which was my favourite; and lastly the time for drying out the cereals like maize and beans. We would lay the beans on sisal mats, cover them and then beat out the beans once they had dried.
A most important part of all, eating what we had harvested, from roasting maize, sweet potatoes in the open flames and enjoying while our grandparents told of stories of harvesting and we sang some of the songs we used to sing. It was easy to predict all the weather patterns which meant that food was readily available all year-long.
As global warming became, and still is rampant, weather patterns have radically changed making it difficult to rely on weather predictions. Droughts and floods have hindered to some extent the constant production of food creating a sort of roadblock to achieving Zero Hunger. 2030 may seem like a long while to come but something needs to be done to curb these extreme weather conditions that are affecting food production.
Zero hunger means no child, man or woman goes a day without at least a single meal. That is a goal that is reachable once we can at least deal with these wild crazy weather conditions that have seen people lose so much in terms of lives, livestock, and homes.
Eliminating hunger goes hand in hand with ensuring that we come up with solutions that lessen the extreme weather conditions, planting more trees, water harvesting when it rains, ensuring farmers have good quality seeds that can withstand pests and grow faster, teaching farmers to cost-effective ways of farming that cut time, labor and financial strain. When there are conducive weather conditions, food will be enough to cater to each person thus gearing closer to zero hunger by 2030.
Zero hunger is a possibility when the government comes together with farmers, donors, and stakeholders to make sure that the source of food is protected and systems put in place to avoid food wastage because of lack of proper storage areas, or bad storage conditions. There should also be policies safeguarding the production, storage, and sale of food to prevent cartels from hoarding food and later selling at a higher prize making fewer people able to afford the food.
Food is a basic need that demands that everyone regardless of age, status, economic background, gender, religious affiliation or political leanings should be able to afford. That is the only way that Kenya and the world will able to meet zero Hunger by 2030.
“By 2030, end hunger and make sure access by all people, in particular, the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and enough food all year round.” Target Goal for UN’s Zero Sustainable Development Goal – Zero Hunger