Report from the Front Lines (I): Drought, hunger & possible famine in Kenya

Our organization, Care of Creation, has staff and projects in Kenya.  Craig Sorley, Care of Creation staff member and Director of Care of Creation-Kenya, our local organization in that country, recently sent us the following report.  Warning:  This is not for the faint of heart.

Right now in Kenya the gov’t has estimated that a full 25% of the population (10 million) is facing major food shortages, with famine looming right around the corner for many.  This is partly due to the poor harvests in 2008 from the election problems and the political unrest that ensued, and partly due to another drought that we”re facing.  You may recall the last major drought was in 2006.To illustrate how drought and declining agricultural productivity is linked to human suffering, I wanted to share briefly the information that Francis gathered recently from a group of older farmers from a community in the Rift Valley just 30 minutes from Brackenhurst.  This is a community just below RVA, where I went to boarding school, and where significant deforestation has taken place on the adjoining escarpment.

Back in 1980, these farmers averaged a maize harvest of 1,350kg per acre.  This year their average was 270kg per acre, only 20% of the 1980 figure.  A similar and even worse picture for beans was reported.  In 1980 they averaged 1,620kg per acre for beans, and this year it was only 45kg, not even 3% of their 1980 average.  Now granted this year has been a dry one, but the reality is that conditions in this area have become progressively drier as the years have passed, and combined with ag land that is simply worn out from overuse, you can understand why we’re seeing declines like this.

Now add to this picture another reality.  The government predicts that 16 years from now (by 2025) Kenya’s population will have grown from its present level of 36 million to 60 million. No further explanation is necessary to clarify the urgency of the task that we face.

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2 thoughts on “Report from the Front Lines (I): Drought, hunger & possible famine in Kenya”

  1. The projected outcomes of this social and environmental crisis are absolutely staggering, Ed. With soil exhaustion, as well as the predicted continuation of climate heating, causing catastrophic drought and starvation, what can be done?! Working backwards from 2025, what has to happen right NOW and continue over the next 16 years to overcome this dire situation.

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