Turn to traditional food to end crisis, says minister

Published on 09/12/2008

By Patrick Muriungi

Kenyans should turn to indigenous food to end the food crisis.

Agriculture Assistant Minister Kareke Mbiuki said yesterday this would ease the sharp increase in the price of maize occasioned by shortage of the staple food.

Kenyans, he said, should turn to cassava, arrowroots, green grams and sweet potatoes to boost food security.

He said extension officers would campaign to promote traditional food, which are no longer popular.

Mr Mbiuki challenged MPs to educate the public to embrace traditional food crops to avert famine in future.

He said legislators were best placed to educate their constituents on the need to diversify food production and stop relying on maize to avoid hunger when the crop failed.

Mbiuki said high food prices were result of shortage of maize and was a wake-up call to leaders to ensure famine was kept at bay.

“The country needs more maize than it produces currently,” he said.

He attributed the allegation of maize cartels to political infighting in the Cabinet and said it would hurt the poor.

“Some people are trying to paint the Agriculture Minister (Mr William Ruto) in bad light by alleging that there is a cartel.

It is unfortunate that legislators are inciting wananchi against fellow leaders,” said Mbiuki.

He was speaking in Meru.

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