16th October marks the world food day, a festival celebrated globally. This years theme was “FOOD PRICES: From Crisis to Stability”. The theme was chosen to shed light on a trend that is hurting the poor consumer, the small scale producer and agriculture in general. Food prices, which were stable for decades, have become increasingly volatile.
If we are to seriously address the issue of world hunger, more effort has to be made to address the problem of food price fluctuations particularly for those who spend most of their incomes on food, to ensure that they can return from the market with enough for their families to eat nutritiously. The causes of food price instability are well known, but what can be done about it requires political will.
This year’s world food day in Kenya was held in Njoro district where all the stakeholders who included Ministry of agriculture, Kenya bureau of standards, Ministry of livestock and fisheries development, Baraka agricultural college, and local NGO’s had a chance to show case some of their activities to local farmers and food consumers. The event commenced with a tree planting session where the guest of honor and other distinguished guest planted trees at identified sites in Njoro to reinforce the reforestation of Mau forest.
Lare pumpkin producers which is a presidia project supported by Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity in collaboration with Necofa, showcased some special products made from the pumpkin. The local producers aim at conserving the already threatened indigenous pumpkin species. This pumpkin is special due to its flavor and the modes of uses among the farmers in lare. Farmers grow the pumpkins, practice saving of its seeds, and add value to the pumpkins by making pumpkin flour, pumpkin seed flour, and juice from the pumpkin flesh. This project helps the local farmers in conserving the plants species, marketing of their produce and multiplication of seed as a method of conservation of biodiversity. The farmers are also involved in environmental conservation as they also practice farm forestry.
Their display attracted attention to the curious onlookers who were surprised by all the products you could derive from this plant as opposed to the simple and most common method of consumption which is boiled pumpkin.
This also gave the farmers an opportunity to market their products by interacting directly with other farmers and also potential consumers.