Drought and famine in Kenya: magnitude and attempted solutions
Mbithi, P. M.
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The report presented in this paper forms a baseline for further reports on drought and its impact on rural development in Kenya. It is therefore deliberately wide ranging and data is presented to highlight the major areas of concern which will be discussed in greater detail in subsequent reports. Specifically the reports attempts to identify the relationship between drought underproductivity, food shortage and famine. It also attempts to estimate the cost of famine to the nation and to the rural communities. The theoretical section is our first attempt to develop the conceptual tools for understanding the farmer's situation and how he and any assisting change agents attempt to cope with drought. Some of the government's programmes to alleviate this problem are discussed critically and suggestions for revitalizing these programs presented. The report concludes with a long list of recommendations mainly to generate constructive discussion rather than evoke the despair which is usual when one reads about suffering and the manifold problems of rural development. The report should be evaluated against the background of empirical fact that more than 4 million Kenyans are constantly threatened by drought and environmentally derived stress. Any suggestions therefore should be practical, feasible or conceptually aim at expanding our vision.