The United Nations on Monday urged Kenya to diversify its food production to boost food security.
Tobias Takavarasha, the Food and Agriculture Organization’s interim representative in Kenya, told journalists in Nairobi that over-reliance on a single staple crop such as maize makes a country vulnerable to food shortages.
“Ultimately food security is not just about one crop but a whole balance that includes grain and oil seeds,” Takavarasha said.
He said one of the key challenges in diversifying the food basket is finding new markets for new crops.
The UN body supports Kenya’s effort to ensure its farmers can find buyers for their produce so that they get a return on their investments, Takavarasha said.
“We also have education sensitization campaigns to enable farmers to avoid just eating one type of food so that they diversify their diets and nutrition,” he said.
Takavarasha said successful diversification of crop production requires farmers to understand their soils.
He said achieving self-sufficiency by a country in food production is one way to increase food security.
“Depending on food imports is risky because the cost of food may be beyond the reach of average consumers or quantities available may not be enough,” Takavarasha said. “Imports should only complement domestic food production.”