Agricultural intensification in Kenya for production of more food and land already under cultivation is the key to effectively addressing the challenges of poverty alleviation, meeting current and future food needs and managing the natural resource base to assure sustainability. Increased food production will only come from increased yields.
In Kenya a lot of cultivable land has already been brought under production, particularly in areas that experience long and short rains. Agricultural intensification addresses the root causes of poverty in many low income developing countries like Kenya, and that is the reason why the Integrated Development Africa Programme (IDAP) is keen on spreading this gospel to agricultural inhabitants found in the various counties in Kenya.
Agriculture is the most viable lead sector for generating incomes and employment in both farm and non-farm economies in most developing countries. Poverty combined with population pressures, land constrains and lack of appropriate production technologies to intensify agriculture is a major source of environmental degradation in low income developing countries, as people are forced to use available natural resources in unsustainable ways to survive. Thus, IDAP’s focus on agricultural intensification holds great promise as an instrument to simultaneously alleviate poverty, meet food needs and avoid over-exploitation of natural resources.
Hunger and malnutrition are the single biggest threats to the Kenya’s public health, and malnutrition is by far the biggest contributor to child mortality. IDAP is committed to making malnutrition a priority and recognizes the effect this has on the most vulnerable children and women. Nearly 20 million children suffer from acute severe malnutrition and 40% of all children in sub-Saharan Africa risk permanent physical and intellectual impairment because of malnutrition. Maternal and child under-nutrition is the cause of 3.5 million (over one third) child deaths annually and 35% of the disease burden in children under five. These deaths are preventable.
The links between women’s lack of access to education, their poor nutritional status and the poor nutritional status of their children are clear. The two-way links between HIV and food insecurity are also now more clearly understood. HIV depletes household labour resources and contributes to a downward spiral into chronic food insecurity.
The community-based approach involves timely detection of severe acute malnutrition in the community and provision of treatment for those without medical complications with ready-to-use therapeutic foods or other nutrient-dense foods at home. If properly combined with a facility based approach for those malnourished children with medical complications and implemented on a large scale, community-based management of severe acute malnutrition could prevent the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children. IDAP strives towards the most effective approach to prevent malnutrition.
We believe that investing in prevention is critical. Preventing infants and young children from becoming undernourished is much more effective than treating children who are already malnourished. Preventive interventions can include: improving access to high-quality foods and to health care; improving nutrition and health knowledge and practices; effectively promoting exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a child’s life where appropriate; promoting improved complementary feeding practices and improving water and sanitation systems and hygiene practices to protect children against communicable diseases.
Greenhouse: One of IDAP’s programme on Agriculture encourages greenhouse farming in Siaya County
and its environs.
Growing of pawpaw has become very popular in Siaya County. This project was introduced to small scale farmers
in various villages in Siaya County and most of them are doing quite well, some even able to pay school fees for their
children in secondary schools from the proceeds.