The Star (Nairobi)

5 December 2012

Kenya: Four Million Kenyans Face Hunger Annually - Mututho

More than 4 million Kenyans face starvation every year.

Half of the Kenyan population does not get adequate meals daily.

"There are fears the number rising if the food situation is not fully addressed," said Parliamentary Agriculture Committee chair John Mututho.

The Naivasha MP blamed the situation on corruption, poverty, abuse of office and poor government policy.

"Kenya has the potential of feeding its citizens and neighbours, unfortunately we are forced to rely on foreign donations," Mututho said.

He accused cartels who control the maize, sugar and wheat flour sectors of causing the food shortage.

Mututho said four families controll 67 per cent of the maize milling industry while another three are in charge of the sugar sector.

"It is possible to give Kenyans maize flour at Sh36 per kilo but due to the vested interest in the sector and malpractices many are sleeping hungry," he said.

Mututho was addressing journalists in Naivasha after arriving from Sydney, Australia where he attended a meeting on food security in the region.

He said the only way to address the food situation is to increase the land under irrigation adding that China is a good example.

Mututho asked the government to invest more money in the National Irrigation Board to make the country food-sufficient.

He welcomed the decision by the government to ban genetically modified imports terming the move as timely.

Mututho warned traders selling GMOs that they face arrest and jail time.

"I still continue to insist that GMOs are harmful. What the country needs is better quality of seeds for higher production," he said.

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