Food insecurity and hopelessness still dodges many families in Kilifi County.
Most parts of Ganze, Magarini and some parts of Malindi, Kaloleni and Rabai sub-counties have had more than four consecutive failed planting seasons.
Ganze Member of Parliament Kenneth Kazungu said the lack of sufficient rains has made it impossible for farmers to plant crops in their farms.
Kazungu said the area would depend on food relief from the government and well-wishers due to erratic rainfall.
Kazungu said the short rains season has already shown signs of failure signaling a continuation of the ongoing food insecurity.
“We have hardworking people in this area but their hard work no longer pays due to lack of enough rain. We have not harvested anything for the fourth season in a row,” he said
The MP said the area has been left destitute due to charcoal burning.
“The main economic activity in this area is charcoal burning. People did not know that cutting down trees to burn charcoal will affect food production. We are now in deep problems. There are no trees anymore. People have now turned to the stumps of the trees they cut down many years ago. They remove the stumps and use them to produce charcoal. What will happen if the stumps are no longer available?” he asked
The MP spoke when he distributed food to the residents of Paziani village, Bamba ward.
Over 400 households received food rations.
Kazungu said the devastating drought of 2016 and 2019 wiped out all livestock in the area putting more pressure on the remaining forests.
The MP said he would push the government to establish mega dams to facilitate the restoration of forest cover and food production.
“We want to reverse the effects of climate change by planting and taking care of tree to maturity. We have been planting trees but they also depend on the same rain that is not available so they end up withering away. The government should construct mega-dams across the constituency to enable the community to harvest water and grow food and trees,” he said
Pwani University don Halimu Shauri, said lack of innovation has resulted to suffering due to climate change.
Shauri said many countries are facing the same challenges but they have not been complaining of food insecurity.
“We do not need rain to do our farming. We only need water. We can turn around the fortunes of our county if we invest in water harvesting and planting many trees. We have countries that are entirely in deserts but they produce food and sell it to other countries. We need innovative leaders to beat these challenges,” he said
Kilifi county agricultural expert Baha Nguma said the effects of climate change can be addressed through proper forest management.
According to Nguma, many forests are being destroyed due to the lack of good policies as well as the citizens’ lack of motivation.
Nguma encouraged Kilifi residents to look for ways to increase the forest cover if they want to have enhanced rainfall.
“It is important to sensitize residents about the importance of using cooking stoves that do not use wood so that they can reduce deforestation. We are where we are because of deforestation. We should not dig further down. Let’s get ways to reverse this trend by growing more trees,” he added
Environmentalists from the Kilifi citizen forum called on the government to distribute seedlings to locals so that they can plant during the long rains.
According to the activists led by Paulson Unda and Amos Kavure, the indiscriminate cutting of trees is caused by the residents’ lack of alternative sources of livelihood.
The county is currently facing one of the most devastating hunger.
By December last year, over 72, 000 residents were in dire need of relief food.
In some areas people turned to eating grass when food was not available.