The Right to Food and Food Security

Each one of us has the Right to Food. It is a universal human right protected by international law. To achieve the Right to Food means that all people should have access to adequate food. Despite this, food insecurity and malnourishment plagues millions of people around the world.

During the 1996 World Food Summit, the definition of food security was agreed. “Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” Therefore, food security is understood in terms of food being available and accessible over time. Food security is also understood in terms of how nutritious food is and whether it aligns with our cultural preferences.

* The number of acutely food-insecure people in need of emergency food assistance increased throughout 2019 from an estimated 1.1 Million in February to 1.6 Million in May and 2.6 Million by July

Food Security in Kenya

We all have our favourite dishes of chakula. From githeri to mursik to nyama choma, or pilau, our different food cultures are important. They are part of our identity. The government has a constitutional and civic duty to achieve the Right to Food for all Kenyans as required under Article 43 of the Constitution.

This human right should ensure your favourite plate of chakula is available and affordable. It is a right that ensures our mama mbogas sell safe produce. It is a right that should ensure all Kenyans are free from hunger and our children don’t go to bed hungry or have to attend school on an empty stomach. Unfortunately, chronic food insecurity is a daily reality for more than 10 million Kenyans.

Where Are We Going Wrong?

How we think about the problem is part of the problem.

Despite decades of independence and promises made by successive regimes, Kenyans are still going to bed hungry. The politics of food by our leaders and the lack of meaningful political commitment backed by implementation of laws and policies needs our urgent attention.

We need to re-think whether the cause of food insecurity is only a consequence of climate change or whether we should be looking at the underlying systemic issues that lead to hunger, such as cultural gender barriers that undermine the role of women and their contribution to food and nutrition security.

We need to improve how we do agriculture by adopting food systems that are good for the environment, and good for us. We need to know our farmers, and learn about how they grow our food. We need to support local supply-chains. We need to vote with our forks.

As active citizens, we can change the perception that there is nothing we can do about hunger in Kenya and around the world. Change, starts with you.

The Route to Food

This video is about the problem of chronic food insecurity in Kenya. It tells you about your Right to Food (Article 43, CoK).

Take action towards change, because the Right to Food is not the right to be fed. It is the right to feed oneself in dignity.