I remember last year a time like now I was watching the same news items I watch on TV now. We were facing the same calamities we were facing last year. Drought is one of those issues that were eminent at that time.
I remember making a mental note not to cover this issue at the time. I had an article but my editor at the time decided it was not so relevant and by passed it. Well today here is one of the articles where I am going to be asking questions and a lot of them especially towards government and the media.
Last year the Kenya Red Cross was out there supplying food to the people who needed urgent attention because of drought. What surprises me is that this year it has happened again which begs the question. Is it that we are not learning anything from facing one horrible, menacing drought that we faced last year?
The media has been keen on making sure that stories of drought have been covered but have not decided to look at other issues. They have been keen to carry out pressers and making sure that they have made sure that they have covered the drought issue. They have even had series’ like Drought Diaries on KTN and forums like the Nation Leadership Forum on NTV where people would talk to get solutions but I guess the suggestions ended at that.
It is time the media made sure that they have at least try to find out what happened to programs such as the Galana Kulalu Project which was to put close to 1 million acres of land into use. I am sure it would be very good to know where our funds went and whether they are being put to good use.
The solutions to the problem however do not lie with government and the media alone. It is high time that farmers in Kenya came together and knew that we cannot depend on rainfall only and embraced other issues that can be addressed. Looking for other alternative option is something that farmers need to be encouraged in order for Kenya to move from being the country that only grows maize and beans to other items.
The government needs to embark on making sure that there is investment into farmers. A case in point is the fact that they paid more for Mexican maize than Kenyan maize which shows that the government needs to improve terms to make sure that maize farmers do not hoard produce such as Maize and make sure that reserves are well stocked in order to avoid a case where the national grain reserve last year ran out of maize to sell to millers forcing them to import the maize.
It is high time that the media made sure that they have not just given us the number of people who have died and instead look for possible solutions and help bring some positive production of goods and services.