Editor's Note [Volume 22 No. 5 (2022)]

States must step up to cushion their citizens from hunger

Just as the world was recovering from pandemic effects, the Russia-Ukraine war started. Already, access to adequate food was curtailed during the pandemic, adding about 180 million more hungry people. Because the two countries are major producers and exporters of food and fuel, food prices are hitting all-time highs. In Kenya, the cost of food keeps rising almost every day. Maize meal, which is the main staple, doubled in price, reaching Ksh. 200 for a 2Kg packet. The highest it has ever been. Food has become virtually unaffordable in developing nations in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The Right to Adequate Food is achieved when every person- man, woman, and child- has access to nutritious food or the means for its procurement. The Right to Food is a Human Right, second only to the Right to Life. It is also a legal right guaranteed in international and national laws. This right, as with other human rights obliges the State to respect, protect and fulfill the right. In fulfilling the right to food, the state can facilitate and provide. Facilitate means that the state engages in activities that strengthen people’s access to and utilization of resources to feed themselves. In case people cannot feed themselves, States must take measures to provide food, for example by giving food rations and/or cash transfers to the needy. Pandemic effects, global inflation, supply-chain issues, and climate impacts are worsening the global food crisis. To cushion citizens from shocks, policy responses have included cutting taxes and providing price subsidies for fuel and food, cash transfers to the most vulnerable, direct food imports, and on the other hand, countries banning food and fertilizer exports. It is expected that these effects will continue well into 2023. States must, therefore, step-up safety nets, bolster the production and distribution of food, and take policy measures that increase access to nutritious food. States must uphold peoples’ dignity. The right to food is the right to feed oneself in dignity.

I wish you pleasant reading of issue 110.

Njeri Karanu
Assistant Editor, AJFAND


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