Kenya ranked among the 63 hungry nations in the world with 14 million Kenyans undernourished as food crises continue to hit the country.
According to a UN report, “State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World”, Kenya is one of the 63 hungry nations in the world with the highest number of undernourished people.
The report was jointly published by the United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP), World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
According to the report, whose data was collected between 2019 and 2021, about 14.4 million Kenyans are facing hunger.
The report presents the first global assessment of food insecurity and malnutrition for 2020 and offers some indication of what hunger might look like by 2030 in a scenario further complicated by the enduring effects of the global pandemic.
According to the report, people affected by hunger globally rose to about 828 million in 2021, an increase of 46 million since 2020 and 150 million since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The increase in hunger in 2021 reflects exacerbated inequalities across and within countries due to an unequal pattern of economic recovery among nations and unrecovered income losses in those most affected by the pandemic,” the report says.
The increase in hunger was attributed to inequalities of class across countries and different patterns of economic recovery caused by the pandemic.
The report shows the need to increase efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number two on zero hunger.
“The distance to reach many of the SDG 2 targets is growing wider, while the time to 2030 is narrowing. There are efforts to make progress towards SDG 2 yet they are proving insufficient in the face of a more challenging and uncertain context.”
The daily cost and affordability of a healthy diet in Kenya have grown by Sh14 per person from 2017 to 2020.
In 2017, for instance, a Kenyan would spend about Sh336 to afford a healthy meal but the figure had risen to Sh350 in 2020.
However, as things stand now, not many Kenyans can afford a healthy diet due to harsh economic hardships caused by unemployment and drought.
In April, Public Service Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia said about three million Kenyans, especially in arid and semi-arid lands, were facing starvation due to drought.
World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said about 11 million people die every year as a result of unhealthy diets.
“Rising food prices mean this will only get worse. WHO supports countries’ efforts to improve food systems through taxing unhealthy foods and subsidizing healthy options, protecting children from harmful marketing, and ensuring clear nutrition labels,” he said.